As most learn about wolves through fairy tales which portray these animals as villainous predators, it's rare to actually come in contact with one. This past Thursday evening, a full crowd in the KnightSpot met two live wolves through "Howling at the Moon," a program put on by the World of Wildlife Educational Encounters organization. The co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega hosted the event.
WOWEE is a local, nonprofit, all-volunteer group that promotes education about wildlife including reptiles, birds and mammals. Alpha Phi Omega president and junior Nick Lombardo originally became involved with WOWEE through some of the organization's interns. "We learned that they were looking to have a show, and we thought it was a really cool event," he explained.
"People either love or hate wolves," WOWEE representative Karen Fires said at the start of the program. "They have such a bad reputation." Fires continued to explain how popular stories of wolves attacking people are generally false. "There has never been a case of wild, healthy wolves attacking humans," she said.
WOWEE's main purpose in holding presentations such as these is to spread the idea that wolves are all-together good creatures that can coexist with humans. Fires then showed a lengthy slideshow outlining wolves' family life, diet and behavior.
Afterward, Perry Ground, a turtle clan member of the Onondaga Nation, shared traditional Native American stories about wolves in the wild. The fictional stories showed wolves as brave and smart animals. Ground, combining movement with expressive language, was an extremely animated storyteller.
Before the actual wolves were brought out, WOWEE showed another presentation that explained the importance of the animals in the ecosystem. Many wolves have been driven out of their natural habitats, such as Yellowstone Park and New York's Adirondack Park, mainly as a result of hunting.
For their conclusion, WOWEE brought out their two wolf-dog hybrids, Juno and Nellie. Members of WOWEE described the wolves as "nice, friendly" animals. However, they cautioned that even though these animals are tame, they are not domesticated and do not try to please their caretakers as a pet dog would. "They are still wild animals," Fires cautioned.
Overall, WOWEE presented an interesting and educational program that dispelled myths about a mysterious creature.