As synecdoches, symbols carrying different meanings depending on personal affiliations and values, how we perceive wolves is highly subjective. Robisch (2009), in Wolves and the Wolf Myth, offers that we write of wolves in our culture based on what exists in our imagination and what serves our human needs -- the World Wolf of our literature, the Corporeal Wolf of our biological world. We need both, in order to understand its place in our world, within its landscape, its role in our ecosystem, and its inherent right to exist.
To appreciate our interconnection with the wolf, as an animal of high intelligence, social qualities, relational capacities, survival instincts, tenacious and fierce determination, is to recognize its intrinsic values. We have romanticized, overemphasized, villified, reified the wolf in order to support our position, as reason for its eradication or its existence. The choice to take a wolf's life is not ours to make. Wolves possess an inherent right to live. As we continue to assert dominance, employ all means of murder -- from political, economical, manifesting into physical -- we conveniently disregard other responsibilities as stewards and guardians of life on earth. Certainly, it is as reasonable to protect ourselves from the natural effects of a wolf's predatory behavior as we would seek shelter from a hurricane or higher ground from a flash flood.
But our continual choice to assert our right to a healthy and prosperous life, if there were such right, by murdering sensitive, feeling, intelligent and beautiful creatures is a crime of inner morality, an act of ignorant arrogance and contributes to the social violence amongst us. For these alleged acts of self-protection are eschew with myth, overreaction, and malice. Wolves deserve a rightful place in our landscapes -- we can employ nonviolent means to deter predator behavior, we can use our human consciousness -- continually evolving -- to create paths of coexistence. We can address the legitimate concerns of those living close to wolves to put the hearts and minds at ease. And we can expand our concept of what it means to live in the world with all creatures, even those that push the edges of our very human boundaries.