Friday, January 8, 2016

Lobo, Blanca, and Ernest Thompson Seton

Freshman students have learned about OR7, our own wandering wolf.  They have also learned about the story of Ernest Thompson Seton and his trapping of Lobo and Blanca.

Seton was sent to New Mexico as a Wolf Bounty Hunter.  The wolves were eating cattle in large numbers, because their prior food source, the buffalo, had disappeared.

Seaton carefully laid out poisoned meat and concealed traps.  None of them worked, and Lobo refused the meat and snapped the traps.  It was only when Seton trapped Blanca, Lobo's mate, that he was finally successful.

However, he did not shoot Lobo, but brought him back to a cabin, where, a few hours later, Lobo died.  Seton used Lobo's story in a best seller, entitled "Wild Animals I have Known."  Seton was later accused of "faking nature" by giving human attributes to wild animals.

Since that time, however, the humanization of animals has actually been an effective tool in helping to promote conservation efforts.  With the wide availability of articles and movies about animal behavior, everyone can gain access to studies on animal behavior.

The story of Blanca and Lobo takes place during the great decline of animal populations in the American West.   Now, as the wolf population gains a toehold in the Southen Cascades, the ideas of wilderness, wild animals, and how they impact humans and the environment are discussed.  Most are "thrilled" with the idea that the wolves have
returned to an area where they had been exterminated.