Friday, February 25, 2011

The Eyes of a Wolf

When Bruce Weide was growing up, he considered wolves a menace. He was told a wolf once tried to kill his grandfather, and was convinced wolves regularly ate people. To him, it seemed only natural that Alaska would offer a bounty on dead wolves, and killing a wolf was a service to his community.

When he was a teenager, he went moose hunting with his father and friends. While searching for moose, Weide spotted a wolf a hundred yards away. As Weide sighted the wolf in the scope of his rifle, the wolf turned his head.

"The wolf's amber-green eyes stared at me.... I felt as if the wolf's eyes peered into my soul. I felt exposed and naked before a primal and enduring force.... The eyes reflected an intelligence that I couldn't come close to comprehending at the time."

Weide could not bring himself to shoot that wolf.

For years Weide felt foolish and did not speak of the incident. But he pondered it continuously and he changed from wolf hater to wolf protector. Years later, he would make a film titled The Wolf: Real or Imagined? that looks at how stories about wolves shape our attitudes and perceptions. He and his wife, wildlife biologist Pat Tucker, founded Wild Sentry: The Northern Rockies Ambassador Wolf Program, an educational organization dedicated to correcting misperceptions about wolves.

And it all started by looking into a wolf's eyes. I mean, really looking and paying attention.

You can read more about Weide's ambassador wolf here.

(Most of this post is paraphrased from the introduction to Chris Palmer's book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom.)

No comments:

Post a Comment