What’s coexistence, and how do we make it happen with wolves? 

Since your Quest is to figure out how people and wolves can peacefully coexist with minimal conflict, you’ll first need to uncover information about coexistence. 

Wolves and people already co-occur in the western US where wolves have been reintroduced, but in many of these places they do not coexist. Co-occurring simply means they live or spend time in the same place. Coexisting puts guard rails on the interactions to protect the wellbeing of both the people and the wolves. The goal is for both people and wolves to live together peacefully with minimal conflict. 

What’s the difference between coexisting and co-occurring?

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Coexisting with Wolves

Wolves and people live in the same area with little conflict.

Coexistence is the co-occurrence of healthy wolf populations with human activities and livelihoods. The conflicts between people and wolves, and between people about wolves, are reduced.


Co-occuring with Wolves

People and wolves live in the same area. 

The conflicts between people and wolves, and between people about wolves, can happen unchecked.

Possible conflicts when co-occurring. These examples can go unchecked when co-occurring, but are minimized or stopped when coexisting.

  • People can kill wolves when and where they see them. 
  • Wolves can kill livestock without any consequences. 
  • People can build trails, roads, and structures without considering wolf habitat. 
  • Large areas of land are off-limits to any type of use by people.

Points to Ponder

  1. How is coexisting different from co-occurring? 
  2. Coexisting reduces conflict that harms both people and wolves. Which examples are harmful to people? Which are harmful to wolves? Can you think of other conflicts that coexisting could reduce?

Watch these videos of people in the western US talking about coexisting with wolves. Then respond to the Questions to Consider.

Questions to Consider

  1. How is coexistence described?
  2. What are some benefits?
  3. What are challenges or costs?
  4. What are people doing to help coexistence?