Was demonization of wolves sort of a test case?
Looking back after almost 20 years at organized attempts to terrify Americans into supporting policies that the right wing likes, it can be argued that demonization of wolves was sort of a test case, an experiment. Turning around the increasingly favorable public perception of wolves was not an organized effort at first, but over time various organizations became devoted to the effort.

Here is a bit of history. After a long period of rehabilitating the reputation of the wolf, they were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Many people were thrilled. Wolf watching grew rapidly in Yellowstone Park. Wolves did not kill anyone, attack or even menace some person. Their population grew and grew. Still no attacks. Almost a generation later, this is still true. Nonetheless, a few voices of alarm were raised, such as Ron Gillet of Stanley, Idaho, that echoed every negative folk tale of the past. From early in 1995 when a dead, probably stillborn cow calf near Salmon, Idaho, became a much discussed wolf issue, the relatively small number of dead livestock due to wolves was given so much media coverage that those grieving natural disasters could have been sick with envy.

After a few years passed, the findings of wildlife biologists doing research on wolves were most often ignored in news stories and very often they were “balanced” by comments from ranchers.

Ranchers were somehow regarded as experts on wolves even when most had never even seen one. Their qualification seemed to be that they would retell a bit of the hundreds of years of negative folklore. Few seemed to even be embarrassed when they used phrases like “Red Riding Hood was right” and other fairly tales as evidence that wolves were near demonic.

In the end, enough people seemed to have become frightened that politicians stopped this successful wildlife restoration. Especially, politicians on the right were happy to judge “enough people” as little more than a small number of loud voices.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism has become a subjective word. There is no generally accepted agreement what it means, but it is a negative thing regardless. Before the definition became politicized, however, terrorism was often defined as illegal acts committed to badly frighten people by fear of their death into accepting political positions that the promoters of the activities (the terrorists) wanted. Often that meant the brutal killing of a person or persons. However, we might call “terrorism light” the deliberate promotion by exaggeration or flat out lying about actual or potentially deadly events. We can see many instances of this kind of terrorism. Wolves were even called “wildlife terrorists,” although the people who said this were the ones trying to instill terror in rural folks. These were never valid predictions. They were just attempts to cause major unease.

Often tried but with mixed success

Terrorism light is not unique to the present time. It has been around as long as history, but with the recent decline of real journalism, terrorism light, that is blind fear, has become easier to set in motion.
It is also important to understand that those reporting frightening claims, rumors, or hints of dark conspiracy are doing easy journalism. There is little fact checking needed, and one story is much like the rest. There are groups, political parties, and movements that are ready to serve up a jolt of fear in just the way for easy reporting.

Communicating hyped up fear about events far removed from wildlife news-

Foreign policy has been fertile soil for reporting things meant to deliberately frighten people and populations. Reporting rumors about infiltration by the enemy, troop movements, or machinations among nations, has been done from the beginning. Students of history often cite the deliberate fabricated reporting about events in Cuba in the early 1900s by the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst. His false stories about the Spanish blowing up the Battleship Maine in the harbor at Havana was the major cause of the Spanish-American War. Much more recently, after 9/11, reporting about Al Qaeda terrorists has often been tailored to frighten and accomplish American entry into wars that may or may not have been in the national interest.

Going back to 1979, when Iranian “students” seized the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, and taking a number of Americans hostage there for 441 days, the American media might as well have worked in direct concert with the militant students. The then little-known British-American-broadcast journalist, Ted Koppel started a nightly program on ABC, “America Held Hostage,” where was reported the day’s events, each day, about the efforts to secure the return of the hostages. One should-have-been-obvious effect of this program was to empower the militants each night on American television. It probably lengthened the hostage crisis until maximum benefit to the militants had been extracted. Then after the election defeat of Jimmy Carter, the hostages came home. The extended “crisis” likely weighed heavily in the defeat of President Carter by Governor Reagan.

Now with the sudden emerge of ISIS/ISIL in the Middle East — Iraq and Syria. Some media, including Fox News, have found some video that is easy to show, probably raises ratings, and is just what the ISIS terrorists want. These are videos of good old-fashioned beheadings. What good is a beheading if few see it? A couple weeks of this and American public opinion swayed from war weariness to let’s exterminate ISIS. This is likely what ISIS wants, deep involvement of the infidels in the Middle East.

How about shouting fire in a crowded theater (actually spreading made up dark rumors about a deadly epidemic).

At one time this was a test for whether free speech could be legally be censored or suppressed under the Constitution — if it was like shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Ebola is inherently frightening. It means death half the time and it is spreading rapidly, although far away in West Africa. One case flew into Dallas. More will probably come. Most, maybe all will be intercepted fairly quick.

Just as some Americans already fear being personally beheaded by ISIS, now more than quarter say they are personally worried about catching the Ebola virus. On top of this, right wing media is promoting the absurd and impossible rumor that Ebola infected refugees are trying to sneak across the Canadian and especially the Mexican border bringing the dread disease to America. The motive for this kind of reporting, which one arguably say, should be suppressed is to create further hatred of President Obama who is then failing to protect America from these unusually vigorous, Ebola infested waders of the Rio Grande.

It is hard to know what to do when we have this lying about fearful things. It now seems to be on steroids. Unfortunately it is easier to report horrible rumors than to investigate the almost always much less interesting facts of the matter.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

77 Responses to The right wing: from wolves to Ebola and ISIS. Trying to terrify us.

  1. MJ says:

    Demonization (scapegoating) is unfortunately not new to human history. We can try to hope that since we have seen this before that we will begin to recognize it for what it is.

    Good read:

  2. Amre says:

    The right wing try’s to terrify people because that is the only way they can hold on to most people for long. Their arguments and policies are so silly, extreme, and intolerant that most logical people would instantly reject them. But if they can terrify people by saying “ISIS will come over and behead you unless we get involved in the middle east” or “Ebola is coming over the boarder with mexico!” they can convince many people to support policies that they normally wouldn’t support if they were calm and in their right minds.

  3. JimT says:


    A good statement about the Right only doing two things…scaring folks and blaming folks..

  4. Yvette says:

    This was an excellent article, Ralph. What I do not grasp is why it is so easy to stir deep fear into people. We’ve seen this before and we’ve studied it in history. I wasn’t around during the McCarthy era, but the correlation between the big scare of communism and the big scare of ‘terrorism’ of today is undeniable.

    I’m more likely to die in a car wreck than I am to contract ebola or to get beheaded by a crazy ISIS person. I guess I don’t understand what makes humans ‘tick’ when it comes to how easily many people get scared of some unlikely event.

    How many cases of ebola are there in Mexico? I’ve not heard of one single Mexican with ebola yet people yammer on about ‘illegals’ bringing ebola across the border. How many cases of TB were diagnosed with the influx of Central American children? Zero.

    I’ve posted on here previously about the deep seated mythology attached to wolves and other predators, so there is not need to reiterate.

    What is it that people are so afraid of losing? I’m not being facetious. I truly do not understand.

    • Amre says:

      Maybe their not educated enough to tell obviously fictitious “threats” from real ones?

  5. Jim says:

    Good article, but does not both sides use “terrorism light” to try to influence people?? Remember all the lawsuits when Idaho tried to open a hunting season on wolves? We were told by one side the wolves would be decimated lowering their population to dangerously low levels…

  6. Nancy says:

    “I am starting to think that this is all some kind of mix-and-match game of fear,” he said. “You take the most extreme examples of xenophobic hysteria — Mexicans, terrorists, ISIS, the border crisis and Ebola — and mash them all together to create a new narrative of craziness,” he added.”


    • Yvette says:

      Good grief, they never stop.

      “I am starting to think that this is all some kind of mix-and-match game of fear,” he said. “You take the most extreme examples of xenophobic hysteria — Mexicans, terrorists, ISIS, the border crisis and Ebola — and mash them all together to create a new narrative of craziness,” he added.”

      He nailed it.

  7. JEFF E says:

    now one of the caregivers of the poor SOB that had EBOLA in Texas has tested positive.

    I would not be so quick to dismiss this threat out of hand…

    • JEFF E says:

      I don’t think this virus cares if one is right wing, left wing, or just clueless.
      does not matter

      • Yvette says:

        Jeff E, I agree with you regarding being dismissive. We definitely need to be cautious and prepared; and prepared we were were not. However; pointing the finger at people in Mexico (not you, but I’ve seen others do it on other sites) that are crossing the border is fear mongering. There has been zero cases of ebola in Mexico. I think this is one more way for the right wing to beat down the most downtrodden among us. Blaming Mexican migrants will not help us get on top of stopping ebola and it just might make matters worse by taking the focus off of where it needs to be. Thanks right-wing fear mongerers.

        Back in the early to mid 90’s I worked as an assistant to a hospital risk manager. I tracked every single incident report; and I also worked with and assisted the infection control nurse. We were all in the quality assurance dept. I was only clerical help back then, but I did a lot and coordinated many things between doctors, attorneys, and hospital staff during lawsuits and/or the potential for a lawsuit. I sat in on depositions, and also coordinated multiple physician’s regular QA meetings. From that experience I surmise:

        1. Texas Presbyterian’s arse is on the legal line right now due to releasing Mr. Duncan. You can take it to the bank that attorneys representing the hospital have been on this from the minuet Mr. Duncan was admitted with ebola.

        2. The hospital was not prepared and right now they are covering their legal arses. I could envision the pandemonium that ensued between doctors, hospital staff, the risk management department, epidemiology/infection control, medical records and attorneys.

        3. Every inch of Mr. Duncan’s medical records have been scoured to put the hospital in the best light possible. Legally though. Those records and every move, action and when that action took place has also been reviewed by the ER QA Committee (this is my guess) doctors, and attorneys.

        4. Mr. Duncan is not at fault. He was sent home. He had planned this trip for years and my guess is his family will sue the hospital and every healthcare worker involved. How probable is it that the hospital released him because he did not have insurance? That will likely come up.

        5. Things are now even more complicated since a healthcare worker has contracted the virus. Again, it is the hospital’s arse on the line. They knew Mr. Duncan had ebola and the hospital should have known the potential for someone to contract. Now the new patient’s medical records will be carefully monitored. Every step they made will be reviewed. (we don’t know if it’s a nurse or a lowly aide or cleaning staff) The hospital and the epidemiology doctor and nurse are now on the line, because this patient has a potential case. Was he/she adequately trained in all precautions of care for an ebola patient?

        6. The hospital will be looking for a scapegoat.

        This is going to be something to watch. My friend, who is a nurse epidemiologist with the same Texas hospital corporation predicted to me there would be more cases.

        • Ralph Maughan says:

          This is just a guess, but I wonder if the hospital at first turned him away because he was a foreign national with no insurance, and they thought “he’s is going to cost us a lot of money?”

          If indeed that happened, it could happen again in our health care system “second to none.” If normal medical insurance company greed prevails, how would Ebola here ever be stopped?

        • JEFF E says:

          yes now that the lawyers are involved the whole thing will get exponentially more disgusting.

          I have had a couple discussions with different people and am amazed at the lack of even basic knowledge about this issue. Makes it way easier to twist it to whatever advantage some lowlife group wants to.

        • Amre says:

          Lets face it: some hospitals are better equipped than others when it comes to handling diseases like ebola. I would rather have patients go to one of the 4 hospitals with bio-containment facility’s where the staff have been training for years rather than Texas presbyterian’s.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            As the story in Dallas continues,new information about the way Thomas Eric Duncan was handled tells me that there hardly could have been a worse hospital for Ebola than Texas Presbyterian.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Yes. I wonder why this most recent nurse didn’t restrict her activities during any incubation period, especially running a fever. I’d not want to infect others, especially family! 🙁

              We’re balking at flight restrictions too – we just don’t like to stop our activities.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                With the exception of medical personnel and supplies of course – charter flights or military planes? The first step would be to contain the virus? IDK.

              • Mark L says:

                She DID have a temp, but only 99.5. The restrictions for travel were for those exposed with temps above 100.5, so she didn’t reach the threshold and was told she was OK to travel (as I understand it). Personally, I wouldn’t have traveled (just for the public’s own good) but that’s a decision she made.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                It’s not a decision I would have made either. This nurse is in the middle of a world health crisis, and anyone with a basic understanding of disease transmission wouldn’t have put others at risk to attend a wedding! Think of those with underlying health issues already, or if perhaps her mother is now t risk. In the scheme of things, the public health is more important. A slight fever could easily become more, especially since she was directly caring for an Ebola patient! Sometimes common sense, and not by-the-book, applies.

                I think the unpreparedness of this Texas hospital is going to be found to be the norm, outside of the world-class hospitals.

                In our usual way, we are overconfident and overly optimistic, just like we are with wildlife management and attitudes.

          • Yvette says:

            I had wondered about Mr. Duncan not being transferred to the hospital in Atlanta that treated the doctor and nurse that had contracted ebola. I assumed it was because he was ‘not important’ enough and probably didn’t have money, so no one was willing to invest in transferring him to the Atlanta hospital. (can’t remember the name of that hospital).

            Now I am watching to see if the young nurse recovers.

  8. Nancy says:

    Interesting how Ebola has gotten this nation (and other nations) fearful AND energized yet “cancer”, and other diseases still kill thousands and thousands, every year in this country and elsewhere.

    A friend emailed me the other day about 3 friends she knows, who have been recently diagnosed with cancer.

    It’s time to start looking at the causes, rather than continuing to treat the symptoms.

    • TC says:

      The causes of or pathogenesis of many forms of cancer are pretty well worked out. Effective treatments remain more elusive, and while many forms share common molecular mechanisms in initiation, promotion, and progression, one sized treatments often do not work. There are few contagious forms of cancer (or, more accurately, cancers arising from contagious diseases), and cancer continues to be, by its very mechanisms, predominantly a disease of older individuals, sometimes with lifestyle choices contributing. Ebola virus and similar diseases are equal opportunity pathogens, putting young, mature, and aged at risk, are directly contagious, and have the potential (with a few key genetic changes – natural or engineered) to cause true pandemics devastating most aspects of modern life – transportation, commerce, industry, health care, etc. While this round of Ebola virus is not likely to be “the one”, the one (almost surely viral) is coming, and assuming we’d all like to continue to exist and we’d like something resembling modern society to exist, it’s a good thing these episodes trigger national and international exercises into preparedness and response, and sometimes even trigger renewed funding streams into biomedical research (currently and for some time on the wane, along with funding of most other basic and applied scientific discovery). No doubt that we need to continue to invest in cancer pathogenesis and treatment research (and there are millions upon millions of dollars going into it in this country alone, far beyond “treating symptoms”, largely because most everyone is touched at some time by cancer – themselves or a loved one), but we need to step up research into emerging zoonotic diseases and old threats re-emerging. For example, if we don’t do something about antimicrobial resistance developing in bacteria, viruses, and parasites (including malaria) we’re headed towards a pre-antimicrobial 19th century future at rocket speed – a place where paper cuts, common work injuries, childbirth, Strep throat, simple things like dog and cat bites, and other daily traumatic and infectious events not infrequently were fatal. And if we’re waiting on big pharma to come to our rescue, we’re have not been paying much attention.

      • Ralph Maughan says:


        Excellent comment!

        I want to add that we have let our public health system decay.

        The budget for the CDC was cut during the battles over the federal budget. We know which political party was mostly behind these cuts. Some of them are now trying to pretend the other party was not attentive to the danger — disgusting!!

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        Yes. There are lots of retroviruses out there that could perform similarity to Ebola: SARS, Lassa fever, the Marberg virus, Hendra. In recent years it was SARS that came closest to a world wide spread.

      • Immer Treue says:

        + one!

      • Nancy says:

        “No doubt that we need to continue to invest in cancer pathogenesis and treatment research (and there are millions upon millions of dollars going into it in this country alone, far beyond “treating symptoms”, largely because most everyone is touched at some time by cancer – themselves or a loved one)”

        Thanks TC and forgive me for not wording my comment well. When I speak of cause its more in the context of what may be ignored because its a multi billion dollar business treating the symptoms. Your thoughts on this article:


        • TC says:

          Nancy – my take on DCA is that it shows promise for treating some forms of cancer, especially when included in cocktails (often including the platinum agents), but that by itself it has been shown to be ineffective or minimally effective against a variety of neoplastic cell lines. More promise, but not a cure for cancer. My guess is there will never be one “cure” for cancer, but a variety of effective treatments for a variety of different cancers. People want biology (especially cancer biology) to be simple, but often it isn’t. If we could start by licking the big ones (breast, colon, prostate, lymphoid and leukemic, pancreatic, lung cancers) then we could work our way down to the less common forms. Some of the most innovative work is being done in animals, directly to benefit animals (and hopefully secondarily to benefit humans). Oddly enough it would be much easier to develop a robust and reliable vaccine for Ebola virus, yet we don’t have that available commercially yet. All about the cost-benefit analysis and projected profit margins (treatments for baldness, obesity, erectile dysfunction, and depression make big money; conceivably treatments for cancer would turn a fair profit if they had more than one application; drugs and biologics for exotic zoonotic diseases do not hold much promise for indecent returns to investors).

  9. Louise Kane says:

    “My guess is there will never be one “cure” for cancer, but a variety of effective treatments for a variety of different cancers. People want biology (especially cancer biology) to be simple, but often it isn’t. ” +1

    This I believe is true of some diseases like MS which I believe is a more of a disease syndrome and that it may have common symptoms but its causes will be discovered to be multi-layered with numerous triggers and its cause rooted in diet, genetics, immune responses, allergies, and as I am learning a concoction to mitochondrial defects. There is no one cure all because the root of the disease is more complicated than most believe.

  10. Louise Kane says:

    Not for the first time I think that Ralph’s Wildlife News is a commentary on so much more than just wildlife news and that it might be edited into a highly published and commercially successful book! Excellent post Ralph!

  11. Yvette says:

    A couple of items of interest on the ebola discussion. One is the deforestation in West Africa, which put displaced fruit bats in closer contact with humans since the bats without their forests moved into human settlements.

    All that was needed was to see the danger was a bat’s eye view of the region. Once blanketed with forests, West Africa has been skinned alive over the last decade. Guinea’s rainforests have been reduced by 80%, while Liberia has sold logging rights to over half its forests. Within the next few years Sierra Leone is on track to be completely deforested.

    The bottom line is that there is no public health without environmental health. Deforestation didn’t cause this Ebola epidemic, but did make it much more likely. http://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2014/oct/03/ebola-epidemic-bats-deforestation-west-africa-guinea-sierra-leone-liberia

    Unfortunately, I have little confidence that we will take heed of the above statement. If it involves a loss of revenue to private profit or corporations that stand to gain from natural resources and the destruction of habitat that will probably take priority over environmental health.

    Here is a 2006 published report on bats that carry various viruses. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1539106/

    • Nancy says:

      “Human behavior is causing this problem. More and more, we’re going into wild, diverse ecosystems around the world, especially tropical forests”


      Course we know deaths have more than tripled since this article was written.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        And I also worry when I read articles about ‘zoonotic’ diseases – rather than change our behavior, I fear we’ll kill off everything that we think may carry disease first, except of course, our livestock that may be the original carriers of some diseases themselves.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Howler Monkeys Poisoned Because of Misinformed Link to Yellow Fever

          And in Spain, the person who contracted Ebola there, they ‘euthanized’ her dog. Do they even know if the dog can transmit the disease? I suppose that is an easy and typical way to relieve fears and frustrations, kill the dog, who cannot speak or fight back.

        • Yvette says:

          Yes, Ida! People panic, and then they react and make decisions that may do nothing to alleviate the core problem. Not many people had paid attention to the ebola epidemic or the potential reasons for initial contact then the spread of ebola when it was in was only in West Africa.

          Earth bites back and a response born out of panic may make matters worse in the long run.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            It’s sad that our country is making this about partisan politics. I’ve actually heard a temporary travel restrictions for commercial flights referred to as ‘sealing off our borders’!

            A quarantine is a the way to handle an outbreak of a disease we aren’t prepared for and don’t know enough about, and does not interfere with experienced medical personnel and food and medical supplies in on charter or military flights. I think it will actually help to concentrate our efforts on stopping the spread in West Africa, if we don’t have to contend with outbreaks in our own country(ies). The nurses in my area (world-class hospitals) have serious concerns about our preparedness too.

            Talking about sending in troops and the National Guard really isn’t doing much of anything. What can they do? And airport screening is a waste of time and resources.

  12. rork says:

    About funding streams. You folks did see Collins (about a month ago) saying to congress that we’d be farther along on a vaccine if we had more money. Let me point to where some scientists debate this tactic with the congress, and public (it may appear we despise them both):

    I had originally figured no one was even working on Ebola vaccines in USA since it was such a rare problem, but I was wrong. Just how much money to put into stuff like this and take away from other more common killers is a tough question of course.

  13. Ida Lupines says:

    Dog of Ebola-infected Dallas Nurse Tests Negative for Virus, Is Doing Great

    I hope she continues to do well also. I’m sure the nurse in Spain has been given unnecessary heartbreak when she learned of her country’s decision to kill her pet.

    The media has been harping on Ebola for weeks; and then when people start to take notice, they are accused of being hysterical! I was just concerned about how unprepared we are for an epidemic, but not surprised.

  14. Mak says:

    Thank you, Ralph, for beginning a necessary dialogue on the arousal of human fears, and how they affect perceptions.

    As you know, the psychological availability heuristic to which we are subject, predisposes us to overestimate likelihoods of experiencing such impossibly rare events as wolf attacks.

    The use of rare events to make incorrect inferences, is an extremely common human fallacy; we overgeneralize even from imaginary events. This is due to the fact that we retain fearful memories, including imaginary ones, to a far greater extent than we do pleasant memories or imaginative occurrences.

    Our brains are built that way, overemphasizing safety, because the careful were more likely to live long enough to reproduce.

    I was just now looking through Montana FWP’s site for an astonishing vague overgeneralizing “report” on incidences of historical wolf attacks that I had read there a few months back. It appears that it has been removed in favor of the pdf’s here: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/wolf/safety.html

    Perhaps because it was full of more holes than a wolf in the Gillet bedroom, its overreaching in descriptions of mere sightings , of wolf response to domestic dog presence, and other conflations, was pulled; it is absent now.

    Nevertheless, it’s perhaps more enlightening and accurate to look at wolf-fear as an indicator of cultural top-down control, than as practice.

    In our overconnected overpopulated era, we see many events overblown, even while significant increases in, for instance, armed school student school shootings, are not remedied, but buried by manufacture of threats that seem to require greater freedom in owning and discharging weapons at others. It’s a conspiracy theorist’s dream!

    Ebola, by the way, is a classic example of a “crowd” disease, one which could not exist or spread except through massive populations too tightly connected. Smallpox once jumped from camels to humans through overintimacy and overavailibility of hosts.
    Many other crowd diseases have emerged, such as SARS, MERS CoV, canine parvovirus, less than 50 years ago.
    To these type of emergent evolutionary events, no real prevention can be developed, and we can only expect increase until our own population is reduced sufficiently to prevent their development.
    The number of individuals in a concentrated population wich allows emergence and thriving of crowd disease, is estimated , I believe, at about 250,000, although when I looked at that was too long ago to retain reference.

    Many political strategies have used human fears, xenophobia in particular, to obtain and retain social control, most notably the Nazi Party in Germany of the early 20th century. Their great propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, had much to say, and in the USA the brilliant Karl Rove used his tactics since the 1970s.

    A look at merely the work of those two, at any introduction to psychological heuristics and biases, and at neuropsychology, will explain why this society has gravitated to a deep enmeshment in the exploitation of fear in order to gain political power.

    Politicization of a heritable psychological characteristic of our species will likely get us nowhere. The remedy in the short term, more psychological education, more early wildland exposure and experience, leading to personal confidence and a deeper social change, might not be possible in an unrelieved socially stressful overpopulation.
    In the long term, a greater evolved distance from the overlarge amygdala and its controlling of memory, and our propensity for remembering imagination too similarly to fact, or our very symbolic verbal language, or other characteristics which make us vulnerable, require too long await, and are chancy.

    This issue of unrelieved social stress and its aggressive consequences, has not been addressed by political scientists, nor sufficiently by any but a few experimental psychologists.

    Since we are reading and writing in Wildlife News, I would like to return to comment directly seeking remedy for human predator fear. Surprisingly little research appropriate to the wolf has been done. I remember only three:

    1. Factors influencing the social acceptability of large carnivore behaviours. Biodiversity and conservation [0960-3115] Jo Kleiven, Jo yr:2004 vol:13 iss:9 pg:1647 -1658
    2. “A New Era for Wolves and People. Wolf Recovery, Human Attitudes and Policy,” edited by M. Musiani, L. Boitani and P. C. Paquet, has a paper on the subject
    3.Behavior and ecology of wolves : proceedings of the Symposium on the Behavior and Ecology of Wolves held on 23-24 May, 1975 at the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society in Wilmington, N.C. / edited by Erich Klinghammer. From back in the mid-1970s this book has, as I remember, something. If not, it refers clearly to wolf biologists knowledge of the problem.

    Thank you all for your focus on the specific symptoms presented by human in your culture(s).

    It may be a long way from vicariously experiencing these newsy “threats” to understanding that they arise from the same source as your individual fears, and that of irrational fear of wolves.
    Even more, we are so used to social wariness built up from birth that we perhaps find fear of novel encounters of other types more arousing. I recommend high intensity outdoor exercise to lower such arousal to levels allowing clear thinking and confidence!

    En fine, try to become critical not of individuals or groups in order to lay blame, but to understand how one uses outgroups to avoid using one’s mind in a researching way (I admit that a mountain of fresh bear scat generates less discomfort in me, than does merely viewing the transparent farce which others seem to take for truth).
    Life is an adventure, and requires some courage to experience its worthiest emotions.

  15. Nancy says:


    Wondering why these health care workers are not being given a “clean bill of health” BEFORE they leave areas of concern?

    • rork says:

      They’d still have to come home from an area of concern and have to monitor themselves. Meanwhile, they’d be somewhere with less support, less ability to stop transmission, and worse treatment if they do come down with the virus or have other diseases (which is not uncommon – leaving Sudan cause you got too sick with something before your time was up was normal). I know docs without borders folks, and I most certainly do want them coming home – they deserve royal treatment from us. They’ll usually need rest and to gain back some weight and maybe some help dealing with trauma at minimum, and then go again. For me to fret about my miniscule risk while pleasantly spending time at home, while they are on the front lines dealing with giant workloads and life-threatening risks, would be spineless. It’s like a war, where we all try to pitch in, even if it’s just a little. The article mentions we want no extra disincentives for health care workers to go. I think we should give them help with health insurance and perhaps other things to make their employers more willing to give them leave to go.

      • Yvette says:

        + 1 rork. Just heard on NPR this morning that a nurse with doctors without borders returned to America from Sierra Leone. She lives in Maine and her route was through NJ. She has been detained and quarantined in a big tent with a port-a-john. It’s located on the airport grounds? She is asymptomatic and is not sick. She is being attended to by healthcare workers in level 4 suits. She is pissed and I don’t blame her.

        What do these politicians not understand about the fact that if you are not sick you are not contagious? People need to get a grip.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        I think this is all blown out of proportion. Most doctors and nurses do realize that you just can’t gallivant all over the NY boroughs after coming back from treating people with a disease from which there is no cure and is at least 70% fatal. It’s not a walk in the park. I think it was tremendously irresponsible for that doctor to do that.

        Sure, you’re not contagious unless you become symptomatic – but when is that? I’d not want to be packed like a sardine in a NYC subway and have someone puke all over me. And of course we have all had the shock and distinct displeasure to observe people using public restrooms and not washing their hands.

        You’d think this woman was being put in prison or something. Most doctors and nurses familiar with disease transmission at all are aware that there might be some kind of quarantine and take that into consideration. It would not dissuade anybody, except possible a naïve volunteer. People with integrity would voluntarily quarantine themselves. We’ve got to think of others, until we know more about how this disease is spread. How did Mr. Doncan’s family avoid it, and Nurse Pham, in protective gear, still become infected?

        We in America think we know it all, and don’t think we have to have any restrictions on our behavior, including washing our hands it seems.

        I swear, Democrats are always in lockstep with this administration. Can’t we think for ourselves and do the prudent thing?

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Staying at home, in the comfort of your own home, for the 21 one days is not false imprisonment, for God’s sakes. Send out for takeout to a restaurant in the neighborhood, for criney out loud!

          The law is on the side of quarantine, and makes exception for protecting the public! This woman is behaving like an overindulged baby.

          Believe me, if the conditions from this disease and the horror and devastation of it don’t dissuade anybody but a naïve volunteer, nothing will. Anybody who sees that I imagine would want to do everything in their power, voluntarily, to make sure it doesn’t spread. Even the military would be subject to a quarantine, but of course they have more discipline than the general public.

          • Yvette says:

            Staying at home, in the comfort of your own home, for the 21 one days is not false imprisonment, for God’s sakes. Send out for takeout to a restaurant in the neighborhood, for criney out loud!”

            This nurse has since been released after getting an attorney, and testing negative for ebola. However, she was NOT being ‘quarantined in the comfort of her home’. She was being held against her will in a g’damned tent with a port-a-potty at the NJ airport.

            The protocol had already been revised for those returning to be monitored 2X/day and IF they developed fever or symptoms to quarantine themselves and they would be monitored for 21 days.

            There is no need for politicians who probably never passed chem I to start isolating people that are asymptomatic and NOT contagious. Friggin’ ridiculous.

            • Nancy says:

              “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 36 million people have died since the first cases were reported in 1981 and 1.6 million people died of HIV/AIDS in 2012. According to WHO, in 2012, an estimated 2.3 million individuals worldwide were newly infected with HIV”


              No good way to point fingers on why Ebola got so “out of hand” but as a species, we are failing miserably in our attempts to control it.

              Like AIDS, Ebola struck populations of little concern (on the global scale) until it stretched further and further and at a speed no where close to the AIDS virus.

              But, the AIDS virus didn’t topple entire communities, within weeks and months like the Ebola virus.

              rork – I have the utmost admiration for organizations like Doctors Without Borders but fact is, little international attention was given to the outbreak of Ebola (educating rural areas on the spread of the virus, funds to help train health care workers in rural communities) til it got REALLY out of hand.

              • rork says:

                Nancy, I agree that in retrospect we should have sent more shock troops earlier, but as you know, 1) local people were not too accepting of outside help, and were even having trouble believing it was real, 2) previous outbreaks were very local and easily handled.

                Ida: The serious situation is in a few countries in Africa, not in N America. Get a grip, and stop fear-mongering.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Rork, nobody is fearmongering, it’s a discussion. Stop being such an arrogant know-it-all.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                You know Rork, I don’t know how it get drawn into these discussions with you. I guess you try to push people’s buttons. I’m going to try harder not to respond to your baiting tactics.

                And, I will continue to discuss.

              • Nancy says:

                Given the track record of the Ebola virus over the years rork:


                and past ability to squash the virus before it got out of hand. Got to wonder what happened this time?

              • JB says:

                Ida: You did claim that the mortality rate was “at least 70%.” Actually, the mortality rate varies relatively dramatically (~25-90%) by country/outbreak (due to associated level of care). Here in the US we would expect much lower fatality rates than those observed in Africa.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              But who says anyone can chart the progress to tell when anyone can become symptomatic? Haven’t you ever come down with a cold and developed a fever while out in public, or felt ill at work? I know I have. It’s foolish to think you can chart your own course like that. Some people may be very conscientious, and others of course will be very irresponsible. Of course these people are doing a wonderful thing, but heroics don’t stop at JFK or the Newark Liberty International!

              So she says. By the time papers would be filed, she’d be released. This has turned into politics, and I cannot believe people don’t question it. The CDC isn’t an independent organization, and reports to the Administration. The states have the right to take additional measures. Since the alleged episode at the Newark airport, this nurse has been released, and I understand her home state of Maine has a quarantine too.

              I think it is ridiculous that these people think they can just mingle in the population as if nothing happened. What would happen, I wonder, if they suddenly developed a high fever while out to dinner, at the bowling alley, or on they subway with sudden vomiting and other things? Why shouldn’t janitors and hotel maids, flight attendants, nurse’s aids, etc. be protected from the risk of bodily fluids? We’ve all heard and read how Godawful those things can be, even under the best of circumstances!

              Yes, this disease is quite a bit different from AIDS or the flu. The flu does result in a lot of deaths yearly, but there is a vaccine for it, and there again, people don’t get the vaccine, because that supposedly violates their civil rights too. Handwashing, avoiding crowds, and taking reasonable precautions helps a lot.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                ^^and restaurant workers.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Nancy, so far anyway – but Ebola has the potential to be much worse than any of these. Especially with the blithe response everyone has to it! Nobody’s panicking, but the quarantine or ‘controlled monitoring’ at home seems like the wise and prudent thing to do. It’s only for a couple of weeks. These diseases such as rabies and the flu (which incidentally have had vaccines for many years) have been around much longer so that people have learned about them.

                This sounds pretty scary to me:

                Ebola’s sucker punch is its speed of replication. At the time of death, a patient can have 1 billion copies of the virus in one cubic centimeter of blood. In comparison, HIV, a similar virus, has the same rate at the time of death. But unlike HIV, which only infects two types of immune cells, Ebola first infects white blood cells that disable the body’s ability to destroy foreign substances, then seizes nearly every cell type.

                “It’s a systemic viral infection throughout your body as opposed to an infection of just your immune system,” Saphire said. “Patients may die before they’re able to mount much of an immune response.”

                This Is How You Get Ebola, As Explained By Science

              • Ida Lupines says:

                oops, bad link. Let’s try that again:

                This is How You Get Ebola, As Explained By Science

            • Yvette says:

              okay. I was wrong. She was in a tent at a hospital, not the airport.

  16. Ida Lupines says:

    She also would not accept the President’s and the CDC’s own process, the airport screening – the quarantine came afterwards. She claimed she did not have a fever and the screening was wrong? Her temperature was slightly elevated due to ‘anxiety and stress’.

  17. Yvette says:

    No one quite puts the ebola scare in perspective like Jon Stewart. And watch those decimal places, people.


    • Ida Lupines says:

      No offense, a little bit of JS goes a long way. I’m not going to watch it, because combating this shouldn’t be broken down along party lines, and it certainly isn’t funny. Resorting to ridicule to put down an opposing political point of view is a weak tactic, and means not much else to support a view.

      I support what Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo have done, and I really like his no-BS style. It is really needed. The lackadaisical, la-la-la attitude is a disappointment. NY and NJ, and Chicago, are densely populated areas.

      Questioning Rork’s “Science Uber Alles” intimidation tactics, doesn’t equate with fearmongering, and shutting up and toeing the party line doesn’t either. Since when has it become ‘fear-mongering’ to speak up and ask questions.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        ^^It should read I really like Chris Christie’s no-BS style. I’m tired of the Democrats in Never-Never land style

      • rork says:

        The reason I have not been contradicting every thing you say that I think wrong is because it would be a burden for the good people visiting this blog, and take considerable time, since I disagree with most of what you’ve written. This isn’t really the place to seriously discuss public health practices either. You’ve demonstrated that.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I think this particular thread is the place to discuss it. You shouldn’t contradict anything a poster has to say, because that is their right. And as much as I post, even I wouldn’t presume to contradict everything I disagree with. That kind of arguing, when people won’t ever see eye-to-eye on an issue, such as you have demonstrated, is a burden to readers of this blog, not to mention probably a bore to them.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Oops, make that ‘you shouldn’t contradict everything a poster has to say, because that is their right.

    • Nancy says:

      Very funny 🙂 Thanks Yvette!

    • W. Hong says:

      I don’t understand what this story means to wildlife?

      • Yvette says:

        W.Hong, it is suspected that ebola originated from a certain species of fruit bats. One of the things that has been postulated is that as these countries have removed their forests that the bat’s habitat was lost so they moved in closer to villages.

        • Ed Loosli says:

          Yvette: Not only West African fruit bats linked to ebola transmission, but also the bush-meat trade is known to be an originating source, especially the eating of West African monkeys and chimps which can carry ebola. People in West Africa often smoke the bush-meat, instead of really cooking it, so the ebola virus is not killed.

          If there is any upside to the tragic ebola epidemic, it is the fact that West Africans are voluntarily starting to not kill chimps and monkeys to eat, because the ebola/bush-meat connection is becoming commonly known.


October 2014


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey