My little wolves met some real wolves on a full moon night recently:
We trekked with them (and about a hundred other Girl Scouts, many of whom were poorly supervised and EXTREMELY ill-behaved--yikes!) up north to a wolf sanctuary for their Howl Night, an evening program with the wolves and some of their caregivers.
We had a lecture on wolf behavior, a demonstration of handlers' interaction with the wolves (The two wolves who were interested in participating were growling and fighting, because one wolf wanted the other wolf to submit, Julie of the Wolves-style. The wolf would submit, but not really, and then when he would be chastised again he would run right up to the handler's feet and the wolves would start fighting again, so the handler would move carefully away, and then the submissive wolf would run back up to him, etc., just like a couple of fighting kids trying to get Momma to take sides), a hike around some of the animal enclosures (Will now adores foxes, on account of how cute the foxes Hunter and Eva were. Eva had a part of a squirrel carcass that she really wanted to hide, but every time she found a good spot she'd look up, see us all staring at her, be like, "Well, crap!", and run around to find a better spot), some campfire marshmallows--
--and, of course, some howling:
Some of the wolves across the lake howled back at us, although the wolves right there sort of looked at us like, "What are you howling at me for? I'm right here, Dude!"
Wolf species are listed as endangered in certain areas, and some have been "delisted" in certain areas because of their recovery, but that doesn't mean that the animals are safe. I was resistant to the kids' wish for an endangered species study at first, because I think it's sad, and I'm not entirely comfortable with them, at the young ages at which I still see them, studying the sad evidence of human wrongdoing, but the kids seem to love endangered animals even more than they love most other animals, and if they want to study them, then it's my duty to facilitate that study.
And who knows? Perhaps I'm facilitating the study of the two people who will grow up to save these animals from their endangered status.