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Listeners Learn to Love Last Leaping Lupines

By Susan M. Carls

There wasn't a full moon over the Yard last night, but that didn't stop the wolves from howling inside Sever Hall.

About 120 Harvard students learned yesterday that "the best way to make friends with a wolf is to give them food." A demonstration sponsored by the Phillips Brooks House Environmental Action Committee featured two live wolves, "Shaman" and "Sila," and a film about the fate of timber wolves, which are an endangered species.

According to audience member F. Christian Willauer '92, "Sever 113 will never look the same after seeing timber wolves jump on the piano."

Three members of the Clem and Jethro Lecture Service, an environmental education organization, told students that the chief threats to the timber wolf's existence are hunting, land developing and ranching.

According to the speakers, timber wolves are nearly extinct, and qualify for protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups nationwide are currently attempting to relocate the wolves to public lands within the Rocky Mountain region, their original territory.

According to Pamela Brown, a 12-year veteran of wolf shows, the movement to reinstate timber wolves to the wilderness is experiencing delays due to the intervention of special interest groups such as ranchers, hunters, developers and offi- cials of the Fish and Game subdivision of theDepartment of the Interior.

The Wolf Action Group (WAG), a New Mexico-basedpartisan group, has recently taken the lead ineliminating such obstacles. The group filed suitagainst the Department of the Interior, chargingthem with delaying efforts to return the wolves totheir natural habitat, according to Brown.

While hunters have actively sought and killedmany thousands of wolves, ranchers also contributeto the species' endangerment by failing to monitortheir own animals, the speakers said.

"Ranchers just put their animals on publicland, unguarded, and allow the [wolves] to get the`slow elk,'" Brown said. "Instead of keeping theiranimals on their property, the ranchers kill thepredators or get the Fish and Game personnel tokill them."

During her talk, Brown urged students topressure government to take action on protectingthe wolves.

For instance, she encouraged students to writeto the governor of Alaska, where overhunting hasdecimated the wolf population in the past year.She also invited audience members to drop by andvolunteer at a wolf sanctuary in the Sangre DeCristo Mountains in southern Colorado.

Before introducing Shaman and Sila, wolfadvocate Kent Weber urged spectators to hide allexposed food--especially junk food, which thewolves love--but assured them that the wolveswould not attack.

"There are no cases in North America of wildwolves attacking people," he said. But "wolvesdon't make good pets--they can grab the neighbors'kids and tear up the house."

Weber told the audience that "wolves are likepeople" in many ways.

"In the morning, they greet each other with ahowl," he said. Then they "lick each other's faceand gnaw on their friend's head. It is all done inaffection."

Brown, Weber and colleague Tracy Brooks havebeen performing their show around the country,travelling in a van with the two wolves. The closequarters, they say, can often be unnerving.

"Travelling is hard on wolves, We let themloose on fenced-in tennis courts to give themexercise," said Brown. "Sila is a little tough totravel with...after all, she is built to bringdown a 500-lb. moose."

Weber and Brooks led the two wolves around theclassroom to meet the spectators. "They love topull gum off from under desks," Brown said as Silanuzzled a lecturn in Sever 113.

The evening ended when the students joined in agroup howl to bid the four-footed visitorsfarewell

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