"Defenders has been promoting National Wolf Awareness Week for several years now because we know that education and understanding are the keys to acceptance of wolves," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "We’ve had a great response from the state governors. Each year, Wolf Awareness Week gets bigger and bigger, and that can mean only good things for recovery of this keystone species throughout the United States."
Regional events are planned during the week of October 17 in areas where wolves have been reintroduced or are proposed for possible return. The following states formally recognize Wolf Awareness Week: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Minnesota has issued a "Certificate of Recognition."
In addition to the regional events, 15 zoos throughout the country will be celebrating Wolf Awareness Week by giving away "Restore the Wolf" Defenders of Wildlife cups throughout the week. The zoos are: Utica Zoo (NY), Beardsly Zoological Gardens (CT), Roger Williams Park Zoo (RI), Clinch Park Zoo (MI), Oregon Zoo (OR), Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (WA), North Carolina Zoological Park (NC), Little Rock Zoological Garden (AR), Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park (CO), Alameda Park Zoo (NM), Dakota Zoo (ND), The Zoo at Bramble Park (SD), Henson Robinson Zoo (IL), Montgomery Zoo (AL), and Glen Oak Zoo (IL). Many of the zoos are hosting their own lecturers and events.
Wolves historically inhabited most of the lower 48 states, but government extermination programs and unrestricted hunting nearly extirpated them by the early 1900s. A population of gray wolves remains in Minnesota. Canadian gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Mexican gray wolves, considered the most endangered of all wolves, were reintroduced into the wilds of Arizona in 1998.
"Although the Yellowstone reintroduction has been, by all accounts, a tremendous success, the Farm Bureau is in court now to have them removed, and removed means killed," said Schlickeisen. "The Mexican wolves in Arizona have been illegally shot and killed. Even in 1999, after all we have learned, wolves everywhere are still constantly under attack. Defenders is working to remove the age-old stigma that surrounds wolves and replace it with sound science and an appreciation for one of the most magnificent creatures in the wild. Wolf Awareness Week will help towards this end."
Some highlights of National Wolf Awareness Week 1999 are:
- Maine 10/17: – Northeast Wolf Center, Maine Wolf Coalition, Hallowell,
Make your own wolf sundae!
10/21: – Educational slide show
- New Hampshire (after WAW) 10/30: – Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Ambassador wolf program sponsored by Defenders
- Washington 10/17: – Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma, WA
Information displays at red wolf exhibit
- Washington 10/22: – University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Presentation on Native American connection to wolves
- North Carolina 10/21: – North Carolina Zoo, Ashboro, NC
Slide show and presentation with guest speakers on red wolf and more
- California (after WAW) 10/31, 11/3, and 12/5: – CA Wolf Center, Julian,
Informational programs on reintroducing wolves in California and update on Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program and lawsuit
A complete list of all scheduled events is available by calling Ken Goldman, Media Associate, Defenders of Wildlife at 202-682-9400 x237.
Contact(s):Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270