Jordan is a sliver of a country visible from Israel’s Dead Sea shore. It is also a sliver full of historical remnants, a whole lot of solar potential – albeit with an attendant water shortage – and up and coming conservation heroes. But there is at least one dark side to Jordan: a primordial fear of wolves. The situation is complicated; Bedouin herders protect against the creatures who prey on their livestock by poisoning them. Others run them over. And others still find satisfaction in hunting and killing them. Ignorance is creating an ecological balance that conservationists find difficult to counteract.
Don’t let boars soar
The largest of five Canidae mammals in Jordan, gray wolves occupy an important role in the food chain: they prey, for example, on the country’s wild boar population that in turn prey on farmer’s crops. Without wolves, the boar population could potentially soar out of control.
But this intricate ecological balance or the need for biodiversity is eclipsed by the same historical contempt that generated fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, and that grips farmers in Wyoming and Alaska, where it is legal – at certain times of the year – to hunt wolves from aircraft.
Jordan’s gray wolf populations, despite being protected by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and listed as needing protection by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), are shrinking.
In addition to being hunted, poisoned, and run over, they are having to adjust to continued destruction of their habitat.
Agriculture, urban expansion, and road construction have all forced wolves to stop traveling in packs, which is characteristic of their normal behavior, but rather in singles or in pairs.
“RSCN’s field studies coordinator Ehab Eid noted that wolves are mainly found in the eastern desert and the northern and southern parts of the country, underscoring that there are no official figures on their numbers,” the Jordan Times reported.
In response, conservationists are doing their part to protect wolves by monitoring their natural habitat, and maintaining their populations in nature reserves.
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