Story and photograph by Weldon Lee
Prejudice is not limited to religion and racial ethnicity. It also finds targets among our wild brothers and sisters, not the least being the gray wolf. Wolf eradication can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Europe. It’s not surprising that it lifted its ugly head again as Europeans began arriving in the New World.
According to PBS, “By the middle of the twentieth century, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population remained in northeastern Minnesota and Michigan.” This came about as a result of wealthy livestock owners wielding their influence over policymakers in Washington, D.C., and demanding a wider grazing range.
In spite of Congress providing protection for wolves under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, wolves are still being killed.
The endangered species protection for gray wolves was repealed in six states. What followed over the last two years was the killing of more than 2,600 wolves. Now the government wants to delist gray wolves in practically the entire Lower 48.
That’s why I decided it’s time to get involved.
One not-so-recent morning, I received an email from Louise du Toit asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a project to save the wolves. Louise is a songwriter and vocalist. She was born in South Africa and currently lives on Corfu, a Greek isle in the Ionian Sea. She wrote, “I have written a new song in the light of our continuous fights for the survival of one of the most beautiful presences on earth, the wolf.”
According to Louise, “I write my songs to raise awareness about the plights of animals, and then I create a simple video with appropriate images, fitting the song to each image the best way.”
I fell in love with Louise’s music the moment I heard her sing. So, when she asked if I wanted to collaborate with her, it was a “no-brainer.”
We put our heads together and decided to produce a DVD featuring “For Every Fallen Wolf,” the new song she had written, along with a selection of my images as backdrops.
That was March, 2011. After many delays, the DVD is finally a reality. As it stands now, 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly towards protecting wolves. We would also like to bring Louise to America for a series of concerts to raise additional money and bring public awareness of the plight of wolves around the world.
Listen to “For Every Fallen Wolf” now at https://soundcloud.com/tags/savethewolves
Weldon Lee is a nature photographer who travels to the world’s most exotic places to capture the essence of wildlife on film. He is a charter member of NANPA, and served as chair of the Education Committee for three years. He received the 2007 Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers Selected Works Award for Excellence in Photography. The American Bald Eagle Foundation named him the 2010 Photographer of the Year. Weldon’s website is www.weldonlee.com and his email is Weldon@weldonlee.com. Weldon and Louise’s goal is to join forces with an environmental organization already working to protect wolves and funnel money directly to it. Interested nonprofits should contact Weldon at Weldon@weldonlee.com.
Weldon Lee will be the featured speaker at NANPA’s Colorado Road Show on September 20, 2014.