Children’s stories and fairy tales perpetuate accounts of the dangers of wolves, from the wolf that eats Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother to the big bad wolf who huffs and puffs and blows down the little piggy’s houses.
That’s programmed people from their childhood to be leery of these furry, four-legged creatures. However, Adrian Wydeven will be presenting an update on Wisconsin Wolves: ecological research, population growth, and latest management issues this Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC).
Wydeven, the coordinator of the Timber Wolf Alliance at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College, said this will be a presentation delving into the current facts on the state’s wolves.
“It’ll be a presentation on wolf ecology and management and some updates on what’s going on with wolves in the state,” he said. “I think a wolf is an often misunderstood animal. There is a lot of mythology that’s been developed around wolves.”
Wydeven explained that his presentation would provide updates on what is happening with wolves in northern Wisconsin, including the Chequamegon Bay area and the northwest parts of the state.
“We’ll talk about how the population’s doing, what surveys are finding and then talk about some of the ecological benefits of wolves,” he said.
Wydeven said he would address some of the myths people have about wolves.
“Things like whether they need to be fearful to walk their dogs in the woods or whether they need to fear for themselves and what the impact wolves are having on the deer population and the impact they have on livestock,” he said. “Things like that, which are often of concern to people.”
Wydeven said that some of his key talking points would be the ecological value of wolves, the role they play in the ecosystem, the impact they have on deer and livestock, what it means to have a wolf population in our backyards and how do people need to behave differently when they walk in the forest or travel to wolf areas with the presence of wolves versus when they’re weren’t wolves there. He’ll also try to dispel some of the myths that people have about wolves.
“They [people] don’t need to be fearful,” he said. “Wolves very rarely attack people and living with wolves shouldn’t be of concern to people.”
Wydeven said he hopes to alleviate concerns.
“Hopefully, people develop a better appreciation of the wolves in the area,” he said. “We are probably lucky to live in a place that is wild enough to have wolves and it adds to the diversity and enjoyment of our environment.”
Wydeven explained what he hopes people take away from Thursday’s presentation.
“Hopefully a better understanding of what’s going on with wolves in the state and the status of their management,” he said, reiterating that he hopes it will alleviate or address concerns about wolves people may have.
Wydeven said those interested in wolves in general and those wanting to learn more about what’s going on with wolves in Wisconsin will benefit from the presentation.
“If they’ve got concerns about the impact wolves have, if they’re concerned about going out in the woods with wolves, hopefully this will educate them more about wolves so that they can be more at ease when they travel in areas where there’s wolves and continue to enjoy our forests and walk around and walk their pets in the areas that wolves are in as well, he said.”
Wydeven discussed some of the concerns he would be addressing.
“(There are) concerns that they have a major impact on the deer herd or that they are going to devastate the livestock industry or that it becomes unsafe to walk in an area where there’s wolves or that your dogs are at high risk if there’s a wolf population in the area,” he said. “Those are concerns that have developed and they are not realistic and we want to make sure to address those so people are at ease and have a better understanding of the animal.”
The NGLVC is located at 29270 Co. Hwy. G. For more information on this or other events at the NGLVC visit them online at nglvc.org or call them at 715-685-9983.
This presentation is being sponsored by the Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands and is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://www.northpikescreek.org.