The Sad Song of the Wolf

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

For as long as I can remember,  I’ve loved wolves.

This little Jewish girl from Detroit dancing around in a pink tutu and satin toe shoes harbored a secret desire to live among the wolves and become accepted as a pack member.

Crazy, right?

Crazy because the only wolves I encountered in Detroit were the hormone-addled little boys at the Jewish Community Center.

“The gaze of the wolf reached into our soul.” Barry Lopez

It wasn’t until we moved to California and I was in college that I did anything about it.

Back in the 1970s, I joined the fight to save the wolf from extinction by advocating for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),

In college, I studied predators and made plans to accompany research scientists and live with wolves in Minnesota and Michigan but never fulfilled that dream because I couldn’t (obviously) bring my dog, and I didn’t want to leave her.

Another dream unfulfilled. Oh, well.

Wolf print Yellowstone

Wolf print, Yellowstone

When tugboat man took me on a trip I’d fantasized about my entire life and we camped and hiked in Yellowstone National Park, we were lucky enough to see several of the wolves who make up the Lamar Valley pack, but we never heard the song of the wolf, probably because we camped right on Slough Creek, and the water, while beautiful, drowned out most animal sounds.

I’m still involved in the never-ending fight to save, defend, and protect this magnificent animal; read about my experiences in Sacramento when I testified at the  Fish and Wildlife Service‘s wolf delisting hearing: Saving Wolves.

From my testimony:  “At 6:00 a.m., a few miles outside our camp at Slough Creek, we followed others to a bison carcass, and our efforts paid off with a multiple sighting of many wolves, including 755. There was an overwhelming sense of awe among the dozens of us who silently watched him cross the road and then a collective sigh of relief when he disappeared safely over the ridge.

Last weekend, we took a drive to the Mojave Desert town of Lucerne to spend a few hours at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by Tonya Littlewolf.

Eleven wolves call this sanctuary home, and while I finally heard the haunting song of the wolf, the whole experience could only be described as sad.

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Why sad?

Sad because these magnificent creatures NEED to be rescued.

Sad that humans think they have the right to try and make pets out of these wild animals. (Not gonna work.)

Sad that the wolves can’t roam free, sad they’re hunted, tortured, hated, vilified.

Wolves are among the most intelligent species.

HOW DARE WE DESTROY THEM.

wolfpaw

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

So yes. Sad. Very sad.

From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website…all volunteer educational organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and proper management of wolves in the wild and in captivity. We are a forever home for all of the wolves we rescue. We rescue wolves from the movie industry, private owners, and from breeders.  The impression a 180 pound wolf leaves on you is everlasting. To look into their knowing, wise, amber colored eyes is a moving, spiritual experience. When you look into the eyes of a wolf, you see your soul…

“We have doomed the Wolf not for what it is, but for what we have deliberately and mistakenly perceived it to be..the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer..which is, in reality no more than a reflexed images of ourself.” Farley Mowat

wolf10

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Denali (Deh-Nah-Lee) (“Great One” or “Highest Mountain”) was one of two pups born in the wilds of Alaska. He was rescued from the wolf-killing that was taking place in that state, both by private citizens and government agencies.

He’s a beautiful wolf with a golden sand coat.  Denali’s personality is very sweet, curious, and friendly.

Tugboat man fed him a biscuit and he took it from him in a gentle and almost dainty manner.

The wolves at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary are well cared for and healthy.

When I met this handsome guy, Holan, he immediately jumped up, put his front paws on my shoulders, and licked my face. See my joy? This is the smile of someone who loves wolves.

wolf mountain sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Tugboat man is sitting next to me, but I had to crop him because he likes to remain anonymous.

wolf9

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“The wolf is neither man’s competitor nor his enemy. He is a fellow creature with whom the earth must be shared.” L. David Mech

Look at him. The eyes. Amazing.

wolf8

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Sniffing around where we had been seated.

wolf7

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” Barry Lopez

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Inescapably, the realization was being borne in upon my preconditioned mind that the centuries-old and univerally accepted human concept of wolf character was a palpable lie. On three separate occasions in less than a week I had been completely at the mercy of these “savage killers”; but far from attempting to tear me limb from limb, they had displayed a restraint verging on contempt, even when I invaded their home and appeared to be posing a direct threat to the young pups.” Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

wolf6

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Awesome Wolf Howling Compilation
http://youtu.be/op7fRsvWowA

A Man Among Wolves
http://youtu.be/j4vFBXOoHs0

wolf5

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

 


From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website:

WHY SAVE THE WOLF? Look at them: they are so noble, so beautiful.  The wolf, as well as other endangered species, are ecological indicators.  It is by studying these species and learning how to preserve them that we learn the main factors affecting our environment.

Perhaps in so doing, we will learn undiscovered ways to benefit mankind!

Unfortunately, there are those who deny the wolf’s place in the ecosystem.  Wolves are gunned down from airplanes and snowmobiles (which some consider “sport”).  Sometimes the fur is taken; however, more often than not, the animal is simply left to decay.

The wolf is poisoned “en masse,” trapped by leg-hold traps, used as adornments for the idle rich.

Today, the wolf’s range is limited to Alaska, Canada, the upper Midwest, and in Yellowstone National Park.  Some of the YNP wolves have traveled into adjoining states, which allow hunters to kill wolves on sight and for little to no reason.  In the 1930’s, there were approximately 50,000 wolves roaming the North American continent.  By the 1940’s, that number had been decreased to 1,000.  Today, mostly because of conservation efforts, there are approximately 3,000 wild wolves on the entire continent.  They have made a small comeback, but because of the recent delisted from the Endangered Species Act, wolves are once again under attack.

Wolf lovers need to band together and do all we can to help them.  TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

​Only you can save the wolf from extinction.  Proper management procedures must be put into action.

Won’t you join us in the wolf’s campaign? Please help the wolves any way you can:  sign all petitions you can to stop the wholesale slaughter of wolves and donate to organizations focused on protecting the wolf!


And here’s something else we can do NOW.

whitehousewolf

It’s important to help out those wonderful humans who devote their lives to protecting wolves like Wolf Mountain Sanctuary and Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary.

 

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Yellowstone Treasures

Our trip to Yellowstone was life changing.

I often dreamed of seeing the wolves of  Lamar Valley.

My wonderful tugboat man surprised me totally out of the blue one day while we were watching a documentary about wolves…

“How would you like to pack up right now and drive to Yellowstone?”

“Right NOW?”

“Yup, we’re not gonna talk about it any more. We’re just going to DO it. What do you say?”

I wasn’t even in the room anymore; I had already started packing before he looked at the local surf report and changed his mind.

I’ve never written about our magical journey to Yellowstone because it’s more than a few posts; it’s book-worthy, and that’s what it’s going to be.

I kept a journal of those enchanted 3000 miles —  we were lucky enough to see wolves and foxes and bears and moose and all the animals I love so much and want to help protect and defend against senseless killing.

I will never forget the first moment I spotted a wolf.

I can honestly say that it was a seminal event in my life.

It was so special words cannot do it justice –to glimpse a brief moment in the life of this majestic, breathtakingly beautiful and wrongly vilified animal.

If I close my eyes, I can still see the beauty of another wolf, a black wolf, nonchalantly chewing on the end of a huge log—an AMAZING sight.

It was an overwhelming experience of transcendent joy.

We will return to Yellowstone and I will hopefully fulfill another one of my life’s dreams, to hear the song of the wolf.

Unfortunately,  the camera I had at that time didn’t have a powerful enough lens to capture a photo of the wolves we saw, but we came away with a couple of other treasures, an osprey feather and a backbone, possibly of a bison, washed up from Slough Creek to our campsite.

Wonderful memories of a dream come true.

Osprey feather

ospreyBison vertebrae (at least I think it’s bison) 

bisonboneUPDATE: Just found this on Facebook, just HAD to edit post to share:

bisonjoke

 

On The Way To Yellowstone: Princess Rosebud And Her Tugboat Man

This summer, we embarked upon an Odyssean journey to fulfill my life’s dream of seeing the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.

It was an amazing ten days of a ife-changing, life-defining adventure, made bittersweet by the current slaughter of wolves in America.

Hub was the driver; I was the navigator, photographer, and keeper of a journal chronicling the three-thousand mile round trip.

We returned home and hardly had time to unpack and reminisce about what we saw and experienced when my merchant mariner got called back to work sooner than anticipated.

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife…

Photos of magnificent peaks near Zion National Park on the way through Nevada and Utah.

roadtrip2 roadtrip1 roadtrip3……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Stop Wolf Hunts Now

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Ghandi

The Slaughter of Wolves – This Is A TRAVESTY

baby_wolf_buttonYou’re going hear a lot about this topic as it gets closer to the time I fly to Sacramento to stand with Defenders of Wildlife to testify at a public hearing. 

Is this the legacy we wish to leave to the next generation? A climate of cruelty?
Can you live with yourselves knowing that animals are being tortured with steel-jawed traps? I hope not. I know I can’t.

As much as I want to devote all my time to my usual superficial pursuits of shopping and reading celebrity tabloids, this has become my life’s mission.

Here’s some important information:

The killing has resumed.

Montana’s hunting season began in earnest on September 15th. Last year hunters and trappers killed off more than one third of the state’s entire wolf population.

With a host of new and deadly hunting and trapping provisions, Montana is set to become a wolf tragedy in the making. We can’t let that happen.

Please help save wolves and other imperiled wildlife with a generous gift to Defenders of Wildlife.

Anti-wolf forces are determined to drive wolf populations down to the bare minimum.  Earlier this year, they introduced a shameful batch of anti-wolf measures in the Montana legislature.

And they could spell disaster for Montana’s wolves:

  • The cost for out-of state-hunters to purchase MT hunting licenses to kill wolves dramatically dropped from $350 to only $50, thus encouraging hunting of more wolves by out-of-state hunters;
  • It’s now legal this season to use electronic devices to lure wolves to their death;
  • The number of wolves a person can kill during hunting and trapping season has increased from one wolf in 2011 to five wolves this season; and
  • As of now, hunters can now walk right up to the Yellowstone National Park border and shoot any wolf that crosses the invisible park boundary – even if it’s just for a minute.

Montana is adopting more extreme wolf management tactics, making it cheaper and easier to kill wolves.

Please donate today to help save Montana’s wolves from a future of increased and ruthless killing.

With your help we’re fighting for the wolves.

  1. We’re fighting against proposed bills that would put a shockingly low cap on the wolf population instead of maintaining healthy numbers like other wildlife species;
  2. We’re on the ground in local communities to dispel misconceptions and anti-wolf propaganda ; and to build political opposition to the host of crazy anti-wolf bills sure to come with the start of the state legislative session in January;
  3. And we’re working with ranchers, private landowners and others to pioneer non-lethal strategies so that wolves and livestock can peacefully coexist.

The war to save wolves now spans the country…from the Northern Rockies, where the killing has claimed nearly 1,200 wolves since 2011…to the Southwest, where the Mexican gray wolf is struggling to survive…to Washington, D.C., where anti-wolf forces are driving a misguided delisting proposal through the federal bureaucracy.

Your help will never come at a more important moment. Won’t you donate today?

Thanks for all you do,

The Ten Stages of Absent Spouse Syndrome

My attempt to organize photos and thoughts from our amazing vacation to Yellowstone,  Grand Tetons, and the Great Basin is taking longer than I thought it would.

So much happened; we had so many random events I want to include –the spectacular technicolor Tetons, seeing wolves from the famous Lamar Valley pack,  Amish campers in Wyoming, fighting with a guy who sold animal hides, and being in the middle of the most extreme weather and intense thunderstorm the tugboat guy and I have ever experienced.

Temps dropped from the mid-eighties to the thirties in less than an hour. Lightening, thunder, wind, torrential rain, hail, sleet, and snow. WOW. And then we hiked in it. All at 10,000 feet. Truly spectacular.

I’m still in shock at being abandoned by my merchant mariner with no warning. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but it’s never easy…

Absent Spouse Syndrome

Guide to Camping Preparations: Princess Rosebud-Style

PART ONE…

Princess Rosebud Hiking Guide

Me at Slough Creek Campground in Yellowstone. Pose it, girl!
Chanel sunglasses, of course.

Me on rocks near river

Wolves, Bears, Bison, Moose, Elk, and more…

Please join me in stopping  the insane murders of these magnificent creatures.

Please join me in stopping the insane murders of these magnificent creatures.

Hello!

We’re back from our journey — a circuitous route from SoCal to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and the Great Basin National Park.

I kept a journal to record every special moment of our vacation.

We hiked, we kayaked, we camped.

We were in a bison traffic jam.

The main purpose of our trip was to fulfill my desire to see wolves in the wild — and we were so lucky to view at least eight of the famous Lamar Valley wolf pack in Yellowstone, including the magnificent 755.

I’m even more passionate about stopping the ridiculous murder of wolves.

We met dedicated park rangers everywhere we went.

The Grand Tetons are AMAZING–we camped, hiked, and kayaked at Jenny Lake.

Our last day at the Great Basin National Park was breathtaking and exciting and scary — thunder, lightening, rain, hail, sleet, and snow; hiking at 10,000 feet. The temp went from the mid-eighties to low thirties in about an hour. AMAZING.

I’ll be downloading pics and writing about it all —

(We had tentative plans to meet up with another blogger in Idaho as we drove through, but we had stayed an extra day in the Tetons ‘cos it was so amazing and I was feeling kinda bad from the heat, so we couldn’t make it happen. Sorry, it would have been fun)