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Phil's Rambling Rants
September 27th, 2009
10:03 pm


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Wolves! also, foxes and stuff
My current friends know about my passion for tigers, but what you may not know is that I was passionately interested in wolves years before I ever got to be close to a tiger.  I became a wolf sponsor at Wolf Park in 1987.  But as Wolf Park grew from a tiny shoestring operation into an internationally known facility with hundreds of visitors per day, I was less and less able to connect.  I'd almost stopped visiting, and then I started volunteering at EFRC and it was very hard to find time to get over there.  I let my sponsorship lapse when I was unemployed, since I couldn't afford it and I wasn't taking advantage of it anyway.

But this weekend, I wasn't going to EFRC.  Because I'm uncomfortable with strangers, I've pigeonholed myself as someone who doesn't deal with visitors, in my own mind and in the minds of the EFRC folks.  This weekend there were major events scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, which meant that they would fit feeding cats in way early in the morning, and the rest of the day would be mostly people-herding.  So Rebecca told me that I should not plan on coming in, and I didn't get an email that said differently.

Combine this extreme rarity in my life, an open Sunday, with the fact that I've been re-reading ElfQuest online, and it makes sense that I ended up driving to Indiana today after all, but in a slightly different direction and not getting up so early.  I went to see the wolves, plus bonus coyotes and foxes.

Wolves are soul-wrenchingly beautiful.  My house is full of images of wolves, but seeing them with my own eyes and hearing them sing with my own ears is still magical.  Against the pain of seeing them is the pain of not being able to touch them.  Wolf Park is also home to 3 foxes.  Foxes don't command the awe that a large predator must, but they make up for it with "aww", and they are very beautiful in their own right. 

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[User Picture]
Date:September 28th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
we have wild wolves on the island (endangered subspecies, of course; *sigh*; about 150), but i've never seen nor heard one. from what i understand they are very shy, live mostly on the west side and in the northern forests, and we don't go there often enough.
[User Picture]
Date:September 28th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Many generations of humans shooting wolves have selected for a lot of shyness. It takes either a lot of dedication or a lot of luck to see one in the wild, and if you did, it would be a mile away and running from you.

Wolf Park is a wonderful place, because they have learned the art of raising wolves so that they can act like wolves but accept humans as part of their environment.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)

Oops, not that type of wolf . . .

I was going to say that I had a wolf song that you've never heard, but, well, . . .

Long ago, when fantasy author C. S. Marks was still ethology grad student Chris Marks, she wrote a song called "Prairie Wolf Song" about, er, coyotes. And their behavior.

Since at the time I had very recently been an ethology undergraduate student, I collected it, and put it in the science section of my science fiction music collection.

Now that I've talked about it in public, I probably should woodshed it before I'm tempted to sing it in front of people.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)

Re: Oops, not that type of wolf . . .

I remember you singing that song (now that you mention it); I always thought you'd written it. If I had known that it was written by Chris Marks I wouldn't have guessed that it was that Chris Marks.

I do have coyotes living around me. I've actually seen them a handful of times and I hear them sometimes. (I probably hear them often, but unless they're making noises that domestic dogs don't, I tend to assume it's dogs.)
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