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Winter 2015



For Whom the Wolves Howl: The 20-year Anniversary  of Wolf Reintroduction  into Yellowstone
By Norman Bishop

“If the wolves…could howl in gratitude,” the article begins. If they could, they’d be thanking people like Bishop, a key the American west and the author of this retrospective look at that process. In the 20th-anniversary year of this remarkable restoration story, he reminds us of the challenges, the persistence and the personalities it took to assure future generations would know the wolves of Yellowstone. 

Teaching the World  about Wolves
By Debra Mitts-Smith

True appreciation of the natural world—and a commitment to protect it—start with environmental education, and we’re never too young or too old to learn more about nature and wildlife. Here, Debra Mitts-Smith delves into the importance of understanding the natural world, and the world about wolves. Download full article.

Chasing Shanku:  Wolf Research in the  High Himalaya
By Lauren Hennelly

On her trek across the harsh wilderness of the Changthang plateau in India, the author adds to our understanding of Himalayan wolves. Her beautifully told story takes us into the world of nomadic people who coexist with Shanku and illustrates the hard work and the joy of gathering data that may help assure the survival of some of the world’s most mysterious wolf lineages.


From the Executive Director & Board Chair
by Rob Schultz and Nancy jo Tubbs 

Wolf Researchers Inform and  Enrich the Center’s Work
A remarkable pleasure in our jobs is the privilege to work with some of the world’s apex wolf researchers. Our international symposia bring wildlife biologists from around the world. International Wolf magazine publishes those who have studied, protected and reintroduced wolves for most of their adult lives. We have been honored over the years to have several of this august group on the Center’s board of directors, including Dave Mech and Rolf Peterson.

Tracking the Pack

The Changing Dynamics of a Pack of Wolves: 26 Years and Beyond
by Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, International Wolf Center

As the Center celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015, it’s a great time to review the changes in wolf pack dynamics that have made our work consistently fascinating. 

The history of the Center’s ambas-sador wolves dates to 1989, when the Center operated a summer-only exhibit in the U.S. Forest Service Voyageur Visitor Center in Ely, Minn. The dis-play included four wolves born that year—two females named Raissa and Bausha, and two males, Ballazar and Jedadiah. These four served the early educational needs of the Center and later moved on to other exhibits. Some visi-tors may remember a smaller, seasonal exhibit that lacked a secondary fence, requiring the curator’s duties to include over summers of the seasonal exhibit. 

Member Profile

“Surveying” the Tracks of Don Gossett
By David Kline

If you could look up the phrase “wolf enthusiast” in the dictionary, you’d probably find a photo of Don Gossett. In his active participation and unflagging enthusiasm, Don is more engaged than a typical member of the International Wolf Center.

Wolves of the World

Japanese Conference Draws on Experts to Address Reintroduction of Wolves
by Tracy O’Connell

International Wolf Center founder and board member Dr. David Mech was among three speakers at a series ences held throughout Japan in June of this year. The speakers addressed the issue of prey animals such as sika deer and wild boars over-running that country’s natural areas and the potential of reintroducing wolves to help reduce their numbers.

Personal Encounter

Locking Eyes with a Lifelong Dream
An encounter on Ellesmere Island

by Kira A. Cassidy

It’s a few minutes after midnight, the sun is shining overhead and I meet the gaze of a wild wolf less than 15 feet away. The dark brown of his iris surprises me-it matches the rich fur of a bull bison, the bark of a Douglas fir, a bubbling thermal mud pot. But I’m not in Yellowstone National Park, I remind myself, where most wolves have an intense, golden stare. And the reflections I see in his eyes are not Old Faithful and elk, valleys of sagebrush and miles of lodgepole pines. Instead I see icebergs and muskox and tiny tundra flowers, and I see myself—in a place I never imagined being.  Download full article.

A Look Beyond

All’s Well that Ends Well?  Wolf Recovery and Conservation in Italy
by Paolo Ciucci

In 1984, when I started as a student doing research on wolves in Abruzzo, the species had been legally protected in Italy for about a decade. The first-ever nationwide census of the species, carried out by Luigi Boitani and Eric Zimen in the early 1970s, depicted some 100-to-110 wolves living at low densities in just ten isolated, recluse mountain refuges scattered in limited portions of the Central and Southern Apennines.


Meet the Pack – Luna
Ambassador wolf Luna is a Great Plains subspecies of the Gray wolf. Three-and-a-half years old, she is the only female in the exhibit pack at the interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.