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The Battle for YellowstoneMorality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict$
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Justin Farrell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164342

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164342.001.0001

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Between Good and Evil: The Science, Culture, and Polarization of Wolf Conflict

Between Good and Evil: The Science, Culture, and Polarization of Wolf Conflict

(p.168) 4. Between Good and Evil: The Science, Culture, and Polarization of Wolf Conflict
The Battle for Yellowstone

Justin Farrell

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines perhaps the most well-known, and most controversial, conflict in the history of Yellowstone: the reintroduction of wolves in 1995, after they had been exterminated from the Rocky Mountains just six decades earlier. Hundreds of popular and scholarly books and articles have been written about the reintroduction, nearly all of which focus on the biology, ecology, and economic impact of the wolf's return. However, the eventual restoration of wolves brought little resolution, even despite such scientific and economic certainty. This is because the ongoing war over the wolf is not ultimately about wolf science, ecosystem dynamics, or economic costs and benefits. Instead, deeper cultural commitments are knowingly, and unknowingly, pushed beneath the surface of rational policy debate, and the failure to acknowledge them hinders opportunities for conflict resolution. The goal in this chapter is to demonstrate this point and examine the competing moral orders that motivate this ongoing war over the wolf in Yellowstone.

Keywords:   Yellowstone, wolf, reintroduction, species reintroduction, moral order, conflict resolution

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