Oregon Wolves and Eco-tourism, and a Tragedy in Sweden

For the third year in a row, Oregon Wild, the non-profit instrumental in supporting wolves in our state, will be hosting  the Oregon Wild Wolf Rendevous.

This Wallowa County adventure will be a four day trip filled with wolf activity, including searches for wolf sign (perhaps even seeing wolves!), a talk by a Nez Perce elder, a meeting with a wolf biologist, a discussion with a rancher, and an exploration of the vast and beautiful Zumwalt Prairie.  The dates are August 17 to August 20th,  if you’re interested. I sure am!

A year ago about this time an article I wrote appeared in The Oregonian called Going Wolfing in Wallowa County. With all the controversy that has occurred in the last year between ranchers and wolves, I wasn’t sure if Oregon Wild would be able to pull off another rendezvous. But you can’t keep a good non-profit down!

Despite the wolf antipathy that emanates from a few in NE Oregon, most are thrilled about the return of wolves to the state.  A couple from San Fransisco traveled there recently and actually spotted wolves. This is the editorial they wrote for the Wallowa County Chieftain. Click on the link if you want to read the comments, some positive, some not.

Eco-tourists elated over sighting wolves

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:35 am

To the Editor:

We are Californians, and are writing to report a thrilling experience we had one afternoon while on a recent trip to N.E. Oregon. We had spent the morning enjoying the wildflowers, raptors and vast vistas of the Zumwalt Prairie. After stopping to eat our lunch, we turned the car around to drive back to Joseph where we were staying. During this drive, we caught a glimpse of several wolves on a nearby hillside. At first we couldn’t believe it, but having seen wolves a number of times in Yellowstone, using our binoculars we were able to confirm what they were. The animals high-tailed it over the hill as soon as they saw us, but we felt so privileged for having seen them and consider that brief moment one of the highlights of our trip.

Click here to find out more!We know the word “eco-tourist” is not one that all people appreciate, but it could be used to define us. In addition to our enjoyment of the natural beauty and biological diversity of this area, we also enjoy the restaurants and shops, and the conveniences of grocery stores, gas stations, and other services. For us, the Joseph area is the perfect destination.

Although we realize we were lucky to see wolves, and it will be unlikely that we will be able to repeat this experience, the fact that they are here is one of the prime motivators for us to continue to make the extended trip from California to N.E. Oregon. We thank those that have made this area such a wonderful place to visit.

Carol Arnold and Andrew Moore    San Francisco

One comment following the letter refers to the woman killed by wolves in a Swedish zoo this morning. What a tragedy, she was only 30, and perhaps unaware of the dangerous situation she had put herself in.  If only she had been with another keeper, if only she had fed the wolves (or whatever her task was) from outside the enclosure, if only… My heart goes out to her family and friends and co-workers. She was no doubt a courageous and dedicated individual, and with so much life ahead of her.

Growing up in a zoo, my father taught us a healthy respect for all animals, including the usually gentle hoofed stock  (lethal when in rut) and our adorable baby elephant, who once tried to turn me into a pancake by smashing me against a concrete wall. My father was almost killed by a 150 pound chimp. He got away but lost two fingers in the process.  This is the first time I have heard of wolves killing a keeper.  Without diminishing the tremendous loss of the young woman,  let’s hope this  rare tragedy does not hinder the efforts to support the 200 some wild wolves in Scandinavia, or elsewhere for that matter.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for keeping us safe. (Bob Elgin with Leonardo lion)

One thought on “Oregon Wolves and Eco-tourism, and a Tragedy in Sweden

  1. this is a cool videa last year when we were there we saw a huge grey wolf in the road in yellowstone about 2 miles away from lamar velaly it was huge and it was very early in the morning so no one was around


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