When the wolves come out of the walls

One of the things that I love about being a parent is coming home from the library with a stack of new kid’s books to read with my boys.  Recently we read an interesting – if bizarre – book called ‘The wolves in the walls’.  The story is about a girl who thinks that she hears wolves living in the walls of her house and when she tells this to her family members they each say the same thing, “Well, you know what they say, ‘When the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.’”  Confused, she asks some questions, 

“Who says that?” “People. Everyone. You know.”

“What’s all over?” “It.”

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Sure enough, eventually the wolves come out of the walls and the family flees to the bottom of the hill where they set up camp wondering what they should do next while the wolves enjoy themselves in the house for days.  Finally, the family decides to confront the wolves and reclaim their house.  For the sake of a nice allegory I would love to tell you that the wolves and people found they could coexist and everyone lived happily ever after.  But as the story goes, the wolves end up fleeing the house – with the same fear of humans that the family had for them – never to be seen again.  The family goes about their lives, but just as the story ends the girl starts to hear the sounds of a different animal in the wall.

This story takes on an entirely different meaning to me than to my young sons as Congress contemplates legislatively ‘delisting’ wolves from the Endangered Species Act.  Congress has never legislatively removed any species from the endangered species list and there’s a good reason for that.  The Endangered Species Act is designed to be based on science, not politics.  And it’s meant to protect our wildlife, not our politicians.

But this isn’t just about wolves.  As the girl in the story can tell you it doesn’t take long for the next species to start rumbling around in the walls – or rather the halls of congress. This kind of action would set the precedent of allowing any politician to ask for an exemption of protections for the endangered species of their choice.  It would lead to the unraveling of one of our country’s greatest environmental laws.  Basically, if congress decides to delist the wolves, then the Endangered Species Act is…well, you know what they say.

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If you would like to preserve the integrity of the Endangered Species Act, please take action and tell your representatives to oppose any legislation to delist wolves.

Image text by Neil Gaiman. Illustrations by Dave McKean. Shared under attribution non-commercial share alike.