How can traditional ecological knowledge change the political ontology of grey wolf (Canis lupus) conservation in Wisconsin, United States?

Amy Ragoschke

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract / Description of output

Backlash from a controversial grey wolf (Canis lupus) hunting season in February 2021 in the state of Wisconsin, opened discussion into the political ontology of wolf conservation. Wolves are crucial components to a healthy ecosystem, and yet their presence is not welcomed by all human residents of the state. While the indigenous Ojibwe and many nonindigenous stakeholders advocate for the wolves’ protection, a vocal group of nonindigenous residents living within wolf territories in northern Wisconsin are advocating for wolf population control and even removal. It is this group’s influence that threatens the future of wolf protections in Wisconsin.
To better understand these influences on ecosystem health, this literature review explored how stakeholders’ support for and opposition to wolf protections is shaped by their ontologies of wolves. It identifies indigeneity as a central factor in the support of wolf conservation due to cultural connections, and the ways traditional ecological knowledges promote respect for the wolves’ contribution to the ecosystem. Nonindigenous livestock producers and recreational hunters experience the wolves as threats and competition. The legislation regarding wolves cannot contend with multiple ontologies resulting in frequent oscillations in the species’ protections and growing animosities among the stakeholders. The Ojibwe’s goals of wolf protections are unequally recognised due to decades of suppression of their rights in land management off their reservations.
This review concludes that sensitivity to all the ontologies of wolves is necessary to protect the wolves of Wisconsin. All stakeholders want to preserve the natural resources of Wisconsin for many generations. Through collaboration with the Ojibwe and respectful applications of their traditional ecological knowledge, anti-wolf stances can be changed. Those stakeholders opposing wolves can learn that wolves are not the threat they perceive. The unimpeded existence of wolves contributes to a thriving ecosystem that Wisconsin’s human residents depend upon.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cousquer, Glen, Supervisor
  • Lurz, Peter, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Wolves
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • ecological knowledge
  • Ojibwe
  • indigenous knowledge


Dive into the research topics of 'How can traditional ecological knowledge change the political ontology of grey wolf (Canis lupus) conservation in Wisconsin, United States?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this