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It's long been rumored that Leopold's conversion from predator antagonist to predator friend happened instantly—when the "green fire" went out in the eyes of the female wolf in that story he told. Truth is, this change of attitude took place over a number of years. The real value of the "green fire" story is that it poeticizes the science of wildlife biology and exposes a landmark shift in nature writing; this is why this story is important for ecocriticism. A little poetic license, and Leopold gets a cool story that would become a foundational myth for a major literary critical discipline. (Source.)
Word got around in both local and national government agencies that Leopold was socially awkward and didn't suffer fools gladly. Basically, Leopold thought that if people were destroying public lands, the government should step in and make them behave. (That was not a popular idea in the U.S. after WWII.) Leopold knew when to push people's buttons, and when to stay calm and write about nature with depth and compassionate concern for wild things that would tug at people's heartstrings. (Source.)