But then, as a Guardian environmental correspondent based in Washington DC, she can afford to be:
There have been mornings when Jim Stone has woken up to the sight of wolves within 100 yards of his front door. And there have been afternoons, many of them, when the wolves have prowled along the thin electrified cable that delineates the southern boundaries of his cattle ranch, just watching and waiting.If you hadn't gained the upper hand with modern firearms and organisation, you wouldn't be here now, idiot!
Stone says he can live with that: "They are a part of the chain of life. They were here before we came so it probably makes sense that they are here [now]."
Locals say that the wolves are threatening elk and other wildlife, and harassing their cattle, and they want to declare open season on the predators.
But Stone and other landowners involved in the Blackfoot Challenge, a conservation alliance of ranchers, environmentalists and government officials, want to make up for the first white settlers, who drove the animals almost to extinction, by finding a way to live with wolves.Whether you like it or not...
"When ranchers and miners first came into the area we were kings. If we wanted to get rid of wolves, we did," Stone says. But, he adds: "This isn't the 1880s any more. We have to figure out a way of co-existence."Have you negotiated a peace treaty with the wolves? Do they know they are required to 'co-exist'?
"We have had fairly rapid growth in the wolf population since they were re-introduced in the 1990s," says Seth Wilson, the wildlife co-ordinator for the Blackfoot Challenge. "The big challenge is can we co-exist? Can we live with large carnivores? That is the next chapter that we are writing."Unfortunately, in Alaska, that next chapter is turning out to be a bit of a horror story:
Mayor Scott Anderson doesn't travel around his small town of Port Heiden unarmed. Neither do his neighbors.It puts some of our complaints into stark perspective, doesn't it?
That's because hungry wolves have been wandering into town in search of food, sneaking into yards and snatching dogs and cats.
It is hunger that is bringing the wolves to this town of about 100 people. While wolves have sneaked into Port Heiden for food before, it is usually just one or two of the animals, and they arrive at night.Because hunger has meant they've lost their fear of man. This is the other side of living amongst 'noble predators' that the tourist guides and conservationists don't tell you...
This is different. These wolves are bold and hard to scare off. Sometimes they just sit and stare.
Now, the wolves are showing up during the day.
After all, all fears about wolves were calmed with the fact that 'historical accounts' showed that wolves rarely attacked man.
Except, of course, when hungry:This is what all the Disneyfied nature documentaries and approving conservation schemes would like to brush under the carpet. Yes, they usually are more scared of you than you are of them, yes, they usually won't attack unless provoked, yes, they are the 'noble spirit of the wild', and we really would be worse off if they were no longer around.
Wolves coming into Port Heiden have residents thinking about what occurred in the village of Chignik Lake last March: A teacher out jogging was killed by two hungry wolves.
But when the chips are down, they aren't going to reciprocate that respect and admiration. We are just meat to them.