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Gaze In Wide Wonder
10 x 13

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Haliburton Wolf preserve in Ontario. I spent 3 hours observing their established pack, taking photos, and marveling at how beautiful these animals are - indeed gazing in wide wonder. The preserve houses a pack of Grey wolves (Canis lupus), or timber wolves, as they are also known. The other species of wolf in Ontario is the Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), a threatened species, offered special protection in Algonquin Park.

Much has been written and discussed about wolf behavior and conservation. As someone with a keen interest in canine behaviour, it was fascinating to me to watch their subtle cues to each other as they went about their afternoon. As a conservationist, I find it hard to believe anyone would want to hunt or shoot such a magnificent animal. Wolves are one of the most misunderstood and maligned creatures on our planet. 

Horrendous mismanagement of wolves in the past via hunting and trapping saw a tremendous decline of these animals to the point of near or complete eradication in many areas. Recent efforts to re-establish wolves in their natural range has met with backlash from farmers. Ironically, recent research in the United States has shown that sustained hunting of wolves actually increases livestock depredation. This is due to a variety of factors including; collapse of pack structure, increase of breeding pairs and frequent breeder turnover due to the culling.

Wolves are part of our natural world and we must learn to live in harmony with them. I have never seen a truly wild wolf in my lifetime and I hope to one day. These incredible ancestral canines deserve a special place in our ecosystem and our hearts.