Smithsonian Magazine October 2015
Volume 46, Number 6
“Shades of Gray” p. 56
Photographs by Annie Marie Musselman
Text by John Vaillant
Photographer Annie Musselman’s photos of wolves in the essay “Shades of Gray” grab the eye, the mind, the heart; they are intensely interesting. The feature written by Vaillant focuses on Wolf Haven International, a sanctuary in Washington State. This organization rescues captive-born wolves once belonging to breeders, perhaps roadside zoos or some other situation that became untenable. Sometimes abused or neglected, these wolves now need a home and care.
Canids, especially domesticated dogs, enjoy a close connection to humans. This may explain the intense feelings wolves arouse in humans. To me, her photos of the strong expressions on the wolves’ faces show ambivalence toward humans and the sanctuary environment. Certainly they are alert to their surroundings.
Vaillant writes “…the wolf functions as a kind of companion consciousness, a wild and stealthy cousin so different from us in appearance and yet so like us in character.” Interestingly, and to my surprise, a human cousin of mine who lives in Washington State is President of the Board of Directors of Wolf Haven. John drew my attention to this article. I’m so glad he did so. See more photos at the Wolf Haven website http://wolfhaven.org/ and at Smithsonian.com/wolf
This past week-end I visited the Detroit Zoo where there is a fairly new wolf exhibit. The wolves I viewed were mostly quiet on this sunny afternoon.
One approached the glass enclosure, seemingly obvious to the people staring at her until the last moment when she turned her head at an odd angle.
Wolves once ranged across much of our country and while the Smithsonian essay calls wolves a close link to prehistoric humans, they are clearly an important part of life in the history of our land. Today, they are seldom without controversy and their numbers in the United States are much reduced when compared to the past.
This issue of the magazine has many interesting articles including, but not limited to a feature on Ernest Hemingway and ancient discoveries in Egypt. I highly recommend it. You can follow Smithsonian Magazine on Facebook.