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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Kids 'Awwooooooo!!' for Wolf Day

Bruce Museum was a howling good time at Wolf Day on Thursday where kids got the opportunity to see a live Arctic gray wolf named Atka. “It was really nice to see. We don’t get usually get this opportunity to see wolves in the wild and I’ve been waiting so long for this,” said Avery Barakett who was with a group of friends all carrying plush toy wolves in their arms.

The stuffed wolves were mere cubs compared to the Wolf Conservation Center’s 8-year-old ambassador wolf Atka who slinked into the packed gallery room with his handler, Maggie Howell, in tow. Kids squealed in delight, pointing and smiling at Atka, who kept his cool while sauntering through the crowd.

Everybody got a lesson in conservation of the furry predators from Spencer Wilheim, operations manager at the wolf center.  He explained to the kids that despite all the stories that give wolves a bad rap, they’re naturally fearful of people.

“I challenge you guys to put on your little red hoods, go out into wood country and see if you see a wolf,” said Wilheim. “You won’t.”

Based in South Salem, N.Y., the wolf center promotes wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment and the human role in protecting their future. The center has 33 wolves, including two other teaching wolves, Lucas and Kyla.

Wilheim explained how wolves live in the wild, how they feed and most importantly their means of communication. One little boy in the room tried to howl to Atka to make him howl back, but was unsuccessful. As Atka romped around the room once more before leaving, a young girl in the crowd cried out, “I love you Atka!”

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