Wolves are evil, they hunt in packs, pursuing defenceless and peaceful herbivores (which aren’t doing any harm to anyone) for miles and miles over the grasslands of northern Europe and America before sinking their teeth into their flesh, grabbing them by the throat and squeezing the breath of life out of their bodies. The wolf is a metaphor for greed, dishonesty, cruelty and a lust for power. The wolf is an evil that preys on the flock of man. Inordinately greedy, rapacious people are referred to as wolfish. Watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Lions however are noble creatures. They are heraldic whether they are rampant or couchant and they guard the bases of our tallest monuments. They are metaphors for pride, strength and honest power. Good strong people are lion-hearted. That’s strange as they hunt in packs, pursuing defenceless and peaceful herbivores (which aren’t doing any harm to anyone) for miles and miles over the grasslands of Africa before sinking their teeth into their flesh, grabbing them by the throat and squeezing the breath of life out of their bodies.
Both creatures occupy the same top notch in the hierarchy of predators in their own ecosystems but one is bad and the other good. How can this be? It can be only because humans are arbitrary in their choices, we can justify anything to ourselves and the more illogical they are the more convinced we become.
The polar bear is another top predator in its environment, a vicious and highly skilled killer which would have no compunction in eating any of us but which must be saved from imminent extinction. Is the polar bear more of a lion or a wolf? Are we concerned about its fate as a slave to our climate change guilt? Is it just another creature which will soon join the long list of extinctions, as one day we surely will?
Why is it that some creatures are worth saving more than others? Do we tend to support the underdog, those that are struggling against the odds? The panda for example, a carnivore that eats bamboo which has next to no nutritional value and finds it almost impossible to mate, surely a case for the evolutionary chop. Are we worrying about the panda but ignoring the parasites that live upon it or are they less important? Or do we worry about those creatures that are too successful and feel that we need to curb their expansion such as the rat and more recently the badger as if they may be a threat to our own sense of dominance?
Wolves aren’t evil no more than foxes are sly, owls are wise and doves are peaceful. These are anthropomorphic traits that we see in our co-inhabitants that expose our own arrogance in that we can only see the world in our own terms. We have created a paradise in our own craven image and are determined that this is the way it is going to be. We humans wish to be masters of all we survey and cannot come to terms with the fact that it is not us that will ultimately decide which creatures survive or don’t. Those decisions lie somewhere else.