Sunday, July 31, 2011

In the Name of the Wolf

The wolf is probably one of the the most misunderstood mammals on earth. With a reputation as violent killer, the wolf got hunted almost to extinction in the US, severely reduced in Canada and didn't fare much better in the rest of the world.

Although our understanding of the ecological value and benefit is now better than ever before, the ordeal for this magnificent hunter is far from over: Alaska allows aerial gunning; Idaho officials are finalizing a hunting and trapping season that could claim the lives of hundreds of wolves this coming week; in Arizona and New Mexico the Mexican Gray Wolf struggles for survival with only 2 breeding pairs left; the wolf population in many areas of Canada, like the Central Rocky Mountains, is among the lowest density of wolves in the world. The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife states in it's report about the status of the wolf in Europe: " Human caused mortality, either through hunter harvest, official lethal control, or poaching seems to be the main limiting factor for wolf populations. There are several countries where wolf management is clearly unsustainable due to over-harvest, and even state sanctioned bounty programs."

Years ago, on one of our frequent trips to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, I stumbled upon a Wolf Sanctuary, called the Northern Lights Wolf Centre .The Northern Lights Wolf Centre is owned and managed by Shelley and Casey Black, a couple who not only dedicated their life to the fight for the conservation of the wolves in their natural environment  but also built this fabulous wolf education center in the Canadian Rockies.

To keep the wolves fit, Shelley and Casey exercise the wolves daily. As an extra bonus they offer the opportunity to accompany them on these wolf hikes in the wild through Blackwolf Photography. An amazing experience where one is able to get to know the wolves better, observe them in their natural environment and of course can photograph them. These wolves are not tame but imprinted and everything goes on wolf terms.

I have done three hikes already and I'm hoping to do more! All the images on this post are from these hikes.

Here I'm treating one of the "vicious killing machines" to an Altoid. He was way more gentle than my Chocolate Lab....

For more information and how to help the wolves please have a look at the following links:

Northern Lights Wolf Centre

Encouraging Literature:

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

3 Among Wolves by Helen Thayer

Brother Wolf by Jim Brandenburg

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