Wild Encounters

A Trip to the International Wolf Center!

The air was crisp and it looked to be a beautiful day. As I looked out over the lake from my window in the Grand Ely Lodge, I was filled with the anticipation of a visit to the International Wolf Center (IWC). The IWC is located in Ely, Minnesota. It’s a quaint little town full of friendly folks, trails, and natural beauty.

Upon arriving at the center, I anxiously awaited the doors opening. I have been a member of the IWC for many years. One of the founders of the center is Dr. Mech – a world re-known wolf expert. The mission of the center is: “The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.” It is through their educational efforts that they make a difference. In this day and age when folks are distanced from nature, the center hopes to open eyes by providing folks the information to do so.

Once in the center, I immediately headed to the back of the building where there, you can sit and watch the exhibit pack. The pack currently consists of four wolves. In 2020, two pups will be added to the pack – adhering to the cadence of adding new pups every four years. I could not help but smile at seeing Denali, Boltz, Axel, and Greyson. The viewing area extends to an amphitheater where every hour, on the hour, sessions are held for guests to learn some aspect of the center and wolves.

The center also just opened a newly refreshed exhibit on wolves that is both interactive and educational. A visitor can wander through at their pace. There are also films you can watch. But for me, the bulk of my time was spent glued to the windows watching the wolves. Their grace and beauty enthralls me. I spent the two full days I had there mostly watching them until the center closed each evening.

I highly encourage you to look them up at: www.wolf.org. Become a member, attend a webinar, read the news, and watch the webcams. I think you will be glad you did. If you have any questions about the IWC, please let me know (denise.hughett@gmail.com)

Denise Hughett

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Crow Hunt

In 2014, when the Utah Wildlife Board was considering instituting a crow hunt, I made related this true story as part of my testimony against the hunt.

In 2008, I was camping on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For breakfast, I was toasting some bread over a camp stove. While setting up my cooking gear, I noticed a crow in a nearby tree but thought nothing of it. While the bread was toasting, I turned away for a few seconds to retrieve something out of my car. When I turned back to tend the bread, the bread was gone and so was the crow I had seen a little earlier in the tree. After a moment of puzzlement, I realized that the crow must have swooped down when I wasn’t looking and took my toast!

Though I was annoyed at having lost my breakfast toast, I was not angry at the crow. Rather, I was amazed at how smart, quick, and cleaver the bird was to snatch the bread from me in the few seconds I wasn’t guarding it. I admired the crow’s intelligence and skills.

I told the Wildlife Board that crows, like other animals, play an important ecological role, and there is no good reason to institute a crow hunt. I explained that since I wasn’t angry at the crow and I did not want to kill the bird that took my toast, the Board, who had less reason to be hostile toward crows than I did, should not authorize the hunt.

As usual, the Wildlife Board ignored my point of view and voted to start the crow hunt. Science does not matter to the Wildlife Board. Ethics do not matter to the Wildlife Board. Public opinion does not matter to the Wildlife Board. The only thing that matters to the Wildlife Board is “expanding hunting opportunities” for the “good old boys” who are the only constituents the Board cares about.

This sorry state of affairs is the direct responsibility of the governor who appoints the members of Utah Wildlife Board. This unhappy situation will likely remain until a governor is elected who is not beholden to the hunting lobby.

Bob Brister

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