Romeo | The lone black wolf of Juneau, Alaska (Dedication)

Romeo the black wolf of Alaska

This post is dedicated specifically to a wolf, Romeo, the lone black wolf of Juneau, Alaska. There is a reason to speak about one wolf rather than a wolf population or at least a pack: Romeo was a famous wolf: approachable and, at the same time, a wild and free wolf.

Who was Romeo

Romeo was a black wolf living in the Mendenhall Valley near Juneau (AK), known for his interactions with dogs and people. He was an Alexander Archipelago Wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) who lived around Mendenhall Glacier between 2000 and 2009.

Romeo was a member of a pack of 13 culled by the Fish & Game Department. Only two wolves survived, Romeo and a female. There was the hope for a new pack in Mendenhall Valley, and the female was pregnant of four… unfortunately was hit and killed by a car. The female, named Juliette, was stuffed and mounted in the glacier’s visitor’s center. Romeo, now left alone, stayed in Mendenhall Valley.

Romeo and dogs

While other wolves are shy and avoid humans, Romeo was in needs to socialize. He was approachable by people and this is the reason why there are so many portrait pictures of him. But he was mainly known because was dog friendly. He used to play with dogs brought for walks around Mendenhall Lake and West Glacier Trail. Many gave one’s own accounts on the web.

Juneau resident Nick Jans, an avid naturalist and wildlife photographer, shared an abundance of experiences with Romeo over the years since they met.

The wolf took a liking to Jans’ dogs and quickly became a regular playmate.

“He developed a huge crush on our female lab, Dakotah, and that’s how he got his name,” Jans said. “He would hang around our back door and sometimes be waiting in our yard. My wife Sherrie said, ‘There’s that Romeo wolf again.’ The name stuck.”

Romeo was never reported as showing aggression toward a person, though a 2007 incident with a pug raised some concern among community members. Jans witnessed Romeo take the pug in his mouth and begin to run off with it, but he described the wolf’s behavior as more playful than aggressive.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMFUI9Em_Ik]

 

Killing of Romeo and trial

The last sighting of Romeo was on September 18, 2009. Other times in the past years Romeo disappeared for months, and in 2006 he was supposed dead. In fact troopers arrested two poachers for killing and disposing a black wolf, but it ended up not being Romeo.

But between September 18 and 19, 2009 something happened to him.  He disappeared and was never seen again. On May 25, 2010, troopers arrested two men for unlawfully killing a black wolf and two bears.

During the trial the pelt of a black wolf was exposed, and the wolf identified as Romeo. Park Mayers sentenced to 330 days in jail (all suspended), $12500 fine and more, and his hunting license is suspended (only for the duration of his probation).

Jeffrey Peacock sentence to six months of jail (all suspended), $5,000 fine and three years probation.

Memorial

Romeo was the town’s beloved mascot, and many people mourned for him. Friends of Romeo and other local citizens organized a memorial ceremony. They spoke about Romeo and erected a plaque to remember him.

Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Indiana

howling

I have always had a very strong fondness for wolves.  I have now created a special category for this magnificent creature, to share in their beauty, and to help educate and spread the word about various non-profit organizations dedicated to the wolf.  I grew up very near to the Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, frequently attending their “howl night” – listening to one of the most beautiful sounds on earth.  Therefore, it only makes sense that my first wolf post is in their honor.  Below is a bit of information about Wolf Park, and a very nice 30 minute news coverage on Wolf Park by Pet Pals TV out of Indianapolis.  If you do not have time to watch the video now, please bookmark for later viewing.  It is worth it.

Here is more about Wolf Park from their website.

Mission Statement


Wolf Park
is a non-profit organization dedicated to education and behavioral research which benefits wolves and their canid relatives. The Park maintains free-living ambassador animals in mixed habitats, provides public educational programs and in-depth seminars, hosts researchers from many institutions to conduct behavioral and cognitive research with the wolves, and advocates for the species’ conservation.
Specific aims include:

• To give researchers an opportunity to combine field studies with observations on animals within the park for a better understanding of their social behavior, which they can then use in better understanding what they see in their field studies, and apply in their efforts to determine what the species needs in order to adapt and live well in the wild.

• To establish and maintain representative groups of endangered species along with other animals, with a view of alerting the public to the need for action on their behalf.

• To expand upon our management techniques with mixed habitats of plants and animals and to make this knowledge available to others, especially focusing on the benefits of socialization in captive animal management.

• To develop the most effective means of disseminating the information which we have to the greatest number of people. This means educating them concerning the importance of appreciating the behavior and ecology of animals and how this relates to the general quality of life for humans, both now and in the future. We will do this through events at Wolf Park, publications, presentations off site, and through the internet, among other ways.

• To co-sponsor or cooperate with other groups, agencies, and institutions, both government and private, wherever possible in matters of common interests.

• To reach members of many different populations of people, from young children to high ranking government officials, in an effort to change attitudes towards wolves, wildlife, and wild lands in a profound way that will alter our culture and will help perpetuate these wild animals and habitats long into the future, beyond our individual lifetimes.

 

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/28915612 width=”640″ height=”360″]

 

The only place in the world to see wolves and bison interact up close!

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