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Backpacker Magazine – May 1999

Wolves' Long Journey Home

While the wolf reintroduction debate rages across the country, in Wisconsin the animals are simply reclaiming their rightful place.

by: Jeff Rennicke


At first, we keep talking, as if unwilling to admit this could be happening. This is not the way we planned it. We haven't howled yet. We don't have our recorder running or the parabolic microphone set up. No one has their field notes handy.

The wolves don't care.

It is just the way Lindsey and Karen described it: higher-pitched yips and barks of younger wolves in front and the low, bass howls of the adults somewhere farther off. It is a sound from deep in the throat, low and round, rising like the moon. I close my eyes. The howls seem to be coming from everywhere at once, as if the whole forest has reared back and is howling to the sky.

The hairs on my neck begin to rise, and not just from the thrill of the sound. Listening, eyes closed in the dark, I think of the way the wolves came back to Wisconsin without our help, and I realize I am hearing not just wolves but living, breathing, howling proof that something wild is still working in these northern forests, that the deep river of nature still flows here. There are wolves out there howling, howling in the Wisconsin night.

For information on the Wolf Research Team, contact Dr. Jack Stewart, Northland College, Ashland, WI 54806; (715) 682-1284; jstewart@wheeler.northland.edu.

Resources:

Friends Of The Wolf

The wolf has become the symbol of all things wild, and despite a few success stories, there are still plenty of issues to be addressed-reintroduction, hunting and trapping, compensation for depredation, and Endangered Species status, to name a few. Here's where to get the information you need to make your voice heard:

Defenders of Wildlife, 1101 14th St. NW, Ste. 1400, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 682-9400; www.defenders.org

Friends of the Wolf-BC, P.O. Box 2983, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 3X4; (604) 290-9256; www.alternatives.com/fowbc/fow.htm

Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report, www.r6.fws.gov/wolf

(information available only online)

International Wolf Center, 1396 Highway 69, Ely, MN 55731;

(218) 365-4695; www.wolf.org

Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Project, http://ifw2es.fws.gov/wolf/ (information available only online)

Timber Wolf Alliance, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, WI 54806; (715) 682-1490; www.northland.edu/soei

Timber Wolf Information Network, Waupaca Field Station, E110 Emmons Creek Rd., Waupaca, WI 54981; www.timberwolfinformation.org

Wolf Awareness, Inc., 910 15th St., Canmore, AL, Canada, T1W 1X3; (403) 678-9633; www.empath.on.ca/clupus

Wolf Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 110309, Anchorage, AK 99511; www.wolfsongalaska.org



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