Sunday, March 31, 2013

Will the Wolf Survive? by Peter Reum

Growing up in the Southwestern United States, there is a different perspective than people in other regions might have. First, one of our 50 is named after Mexico, second, there is no majority population from that state, making New Mexico the second state to have Caucasian folks as just another minority. Third, New Mexico has its public documents printed in both Spanish and English, and has since it became a US territory.  Fourth, there are still places in New Mexico where there are no humans for miles. This is especially true of the southern half of the state, and also the northwestern part of the state.

The major population centers are for the most part along the Rio Grande as it flows through the state. The state was a Spanish colony at the edge of the empire from 1608 until 1846. To put this in perspective, New Mexico and its sister state, Arizona, have just celebrated their centennial as states in 2012. Underlying all of this is the indigenous population, who have oral traditions going back 10,000 years. The wolf has been there even longer.....

The Gray Wolf is under threat of extinction in the wild. This is the mascot of The University of New Mexico, known by their Spanish name, lobo. As in Montana and Wyoming, there is a long history of slaughter of wolves, and although they are protected, they are still hunted and killed by ranchers, so called "sportsmen," and government employees. The Center for Biological Diversity, located in Tucson, Arizona, has filed a lawsuit to protect the Gray Wolf, and is working to protect other wolves in diverse locations around the country. Currently, wolves are under attack in Michigan, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Mexico has a program to repopulate the lobo in their Sierra Madre, but the total number of wolves in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States is estimated at 75. There are another 250 who are in breeding programs.

The second album by LOS LOBOS DEL ESTE LOS ANGELES was entitled Will the Wolf Survive? The album used the analogy of the Gray Wolf to illustrate the life in East Los Angeles for young Latinos and their survival chances to live into middle age. The analogy was not only powerful, but completely appropriate. at the time the album was recorded, there were gangs running East LA. Group member Cesar Rojas tragically lost his wife in mysterious circumstances in the Nineties. LOS LOBOS survived and thrive to this day, playing live around the country, and have an album called Tin Can Trust which is one of their best in their long career, which began by playing at rallies for Cesar Chavez.

Perhaps the survival of LOS LOBOS portends well for the Gray Wolf. If you are so inclined, go to the Center for Biological Diversity's website so you can find out what you can do for the Gray Wolf and other wolves around the country. They are at

copyright 2013 by Peter Reum-All Rights Reserved