“Wolves need more than hundreds of acres to live on,“ he said, “they need thousands. They need miles, 50-square miles of habitat, at least, undisturbed by human activities.”
Where could such a place be found in an age when people are building second homes and charging around on four-wheelers? Pryor recognizes that putting wolves “temporarily” in their old environments, returning them to the wild, can have the effect of driving up their numbers for a time. But, the problem is that when humans see that the wolf population has been growing, they get their rifles out and go wolf hunting. That brings wolf numbers right back down. It’s a vicious cycle the wolf population must endure at the hands of the human race, from persecution to recovery and again from persecution to recovery, over and over. But, Will has something real and good to offer wolves and, for that matter, coyotes and Arctic Fox. That would be a home, a happy one.
Pryor invites people to get involved with the Nature Center by coming for a visit. The center is open on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment; tours for school groups are very popular The sixth annual Fall Festival, held on Columbus Day weekend, featured many entertaining and educational activities, such as chain-saw carving, sled dog demonstrations, live music, and story telling. You’ll have to wait for next year’s seventh annual Fall Festival to catch that one. But on weekends in December there will be hot chocolate and cookies, visits with Santa, and other fun things in the mix for the holiday as celebrated on Wolf Mountain.
On Saturday evenings over the summer, the center offered an eerie and exciting program under the stars with wolf howling being the main attraction. It was surprising to some of us to learn that the wolves howl so differently from one another, that no two howls are the same and that they are always howling about being happy or feeling sad, as though trying to tell a story. Sometimes the wolf songs blend together to make a homogenous howl that looks and sounds extraordinary.
The next howl is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 27.
Pryor’s dedication to wolves is obvious. He was asked if there is something about that species that he finds especially admirable. “I love their spirit,” Pryor replied. “They seem to have a great connection to the planet.”
Visit thewolfmountainnaturecenter.org or call 627-6784 for more information.