I awoke at dawn on the Ambler River in northwest Arctic Alaska. Something was moving just outside the tent. Slipping from my sleeping bag, I unzipped the tent door and peered around a fringe of autumn-bright willow. Instead of the caribou I'd expected, there stood a lone gray wolf, nose to the riverbank. It lifted its head and stared at me with intent green eyes. A stone's toss apart, we studied each other in the morning silence. At last the animal—a young female, I guessed from its narrow build—turned and trotted off, north up the mountain-rimmed valley. I watched her, as grateful as I had been when I met my first wild Alaska wolf 30 years ago. Even in the remote Arctic, glimpsing Canis lupus at close range is a rare experience. I've known many people who've lived for decades in wolf country and never seen more than tracks. Despite this, wolf populations in several parts of Alaska (along with grizzly and black bear numbers in some regions) are being reduced by a controversial, escalating predator-control program.