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Stutrud to be honored at 2019 Howl at the Moon Gala on April 11

Contact:
Chad Richardson
Communications Director
International Wolf Center
763-560-7374, ext. 225
chad@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – These days, it seems like a new brewery is opening in Minnesota on a weekly basis. In the mid 1980s, though, there wasn’t a craft beer scene, there were no taprooms and nobody had even heard of a growler.

Despite that, Mark Stutrud wanted to change careers, going from a social worker to a brewer. He wrote the nationwide brewer’s association about his idea and, to his surprise, they discouraged him from launching a brewery. He wouldn’t make it in the business, they said.

Stutrud ignored their advice and, in September 1986, the first kegs rolled off the line at Summit Brewing Co. and into Twin Cities bars. Since then, the Minnesota institution has kept growing. Summit is the state’s second-biggest brewery.

This pioneering spirit and dedication to his craft led to the International Wolf Center to name Stutrud as its 2019 Leader of the Pack Award winner. Stutrud will be given the award and honored at the Howl at the Moon Gala on Thursday, April 11, at Midland Hills Country Club.

“I’m very honored,” Stutrud said. “Absolutely surprised and very honored. The International Wolf Center, I know, is very focused on education. Wolves are an example of how absolutely complex our ecosystems are. When organizations like the International Wolf Center can provide education on the earth and all of its inhabitants, that’s a very important function.”

The Center’s Executive Director, Rob Schultz, said Stutrud was nominated by a member of the gala committee and was quickly endorsed.

“Mark’s brave decision to open a brewery, against the advice of several people, shows he’s a man of firm convictions and a decisive leader,” Schultz said. “Those are traits we love to honor with this award. We’re thrilled he will be the recipient of this award at our upcoming gala.”

Tickets for the gala are available by visiting this link.

Stutrud will be joined at the gala by his wife, Susan, and several members of Summit’s leadership team. For many years, Summit has given back to food banks, art museums, music causes and numerous charitable fundraisers and events.

“A part of our longevity is connected to the fact that we’re very engaged in the Twin Cities community,” said Stutrud. “We’ve been deeply supportive of a number of causes through the years. That also really helps us to be a consistent part of the fabric of the community.

More about the brewery

When Summit opened, Stutrud did so with a wealth of brewing knowledge in his back pocket. He received professional training from brewing legends Charles A. McElevey and Frederick H. Thomasser. He completed the courses of Brewing Theory and Practice and Brewing Microbiology and Microscopy at the Siebel Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois. In July of 1991, Stutrud was awarded the J.E. Siebel Memorial Scholarship and received his Diploma in Brewing Technology from the Siebel Institute. That technical background meant that Stutrud had the necessary tools to produce consistently great beer.

“I think our longevity has to do with the fact that we were technically sound when we introduced Extra Pale Ale and, a few months after that, Great Northern Porter,” he said. “We knew that we had to understand the industry and the different tiers of business within the brewing industry, as well as being very good technically.”

Summit, the first Minnesota brewery built in Minnesota since the repeal of Prohibition, laid the framework for others to follow. And follow they have. There are now approximately 180 breweries operating in Minnesota.

“We were sodbusters,” Stutrud said. “That’s not easy work. You’re turning over that virgin soil and it allows other people behind you to cultivate a little more easy. That’s been a part of our role.”

The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.

The project was funded by the International Wolf Center, the Lake Superior National Parks Foundation and private donors

 

Contact:
Chad Richardson
Communications Director
International Wolf Center
763-560-7374, ext. 225
chad@wolf.org

Supporting images:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – An urgent effort to relocate seven gray wolves from Michipicoten Island and Canada’s mainland to Isle Royale has ended with success. The effort, which ran from Friday through Sunday, successfully and efficiently moved seven gray wolves at risk of death because of a shortage of prey.

The operation was funded with $45,000 from the International Wolf Center and $30,000 from the Lake Superior National Parks Foundation. Through a GoFundMe account online, another $11,500 was raised.

“We are honored to have played a role in this important operation,” said Rob Schultz, the executive director of the International Wolf Center. “We have been relaying updates of the capture and transfer progress to media and the public throughout the weekend.”

Isle Royale National Park superintendent Phyllis Green said the project on Michipicoten this weekend to save those hungry wolves would not have happened if countless donors didn’t step forward.

“I just want to thank everyone who donated,” she said. “On Saturday, we were watching the money aspects of this. It really helped to have all the donations that came in. We were pretty much right on the mark for what the estimate was and what came in from donors. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Three wolves were captured and moved Friday by teams of professionals. On Saturday, another four were moved. Of the seven, three were female. Six came from Michipicoten Island and one came from Canada’s mainland.

“They were long days, but we had a really wonderful result,” Green said. “We were coordinating five aircraft and seven wolves, arriving independently. It was very intense.”

It is believed that a 2-year-old female that was moved from Michipicoten to Isle Royale may be pregnant. If she were to give birth on Isle Royale this spring, those would be the first pups born on the island since 2014, according to Rolf Peterson, the lead researcher studying wolves and moose on the island.

“Any reproduction on the island this year would be pretty remarkable,” Peterson said. Peterson followed the weekend’s events closely.

“I was just glad it was successfully concluded,” he said. “There are so many ways it can go wrong. You’re nervous until it’s over.”

Peterson and the researchers now will wait to see how the island’s new inhabitants form their packs

“We just have to wait now until the wolves organize their personal lives and get on with things,” he said. “It’s been seven years out there since wolf predation had any impact on moose out there. It will be good to see that going again.”

The males captured on Michipicoten were close to healthy weights, but the females weighed between 50 and 60 pounds, far below what is considered healthy. The low female weights are due to the fact that the wolves on Michipicoten had run out of prey. Meanwhile, Isle Royale is populated by more than 1,600 moose, which is far above what biologists think is viable for the island to sustain. Too many moose on Isle Royale will lead to the overconsumption of vegetation, eventually causing severe damage to the the island’s ecosystem and raising concerns that the moose population may collapse.

By reintroducing wolves to the island, the moose will again have a natural predator to keep their population at sustainable levels. Scientists expect the two populations to again manage themselves as they had done on the island for decades. These seven new wolves join eight that were already on the island, including six that have been reintroduced since September through other efforts.

“Now our focus will turn to following the researchers as they study the impact of these new wolves on Isle Royale,” Schultz said. “As we move into the summer months, we look forward to working closely with the National Park Service and the Lake Superior National Parks Foundation to begin planning the next phase of wolf reintroduction efforts that are expected to occur this fall.”

About 20 to 30 new gray wolves are expected to be introduced to Isle Royale National Park over the next three to five years.

The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.

Contact:
Chad Richardson, communications director
International Wolf Center
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225
chad@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – A small group of students in Vietnam will have a unique experience March 23. Teachers there will connect their students through the internet to the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, for a science-based program about wolves.

This program comes just a few days after the International Wolf Center presented a similar program to students in Nigeria.

“Since we were founded, we’ve worked hard to educate the world about wolves,” Executive Director Rob Schultz said. “These two programs shine some light on the important work we do across the world.”

These two programs aren’t the first time the Center has connected to such faraway places, but it is unique for two of the international programs to be so close together on the calendar.

“Students at each school will be amazed by our WolfLink videoconferences,” Schultz said. “They’ll even get a live view of our wolves in Ely during their live program.”

WolfLink videoconferences teach science-based facts about wolves to audiences around the world. Classrooms get a chance to see live wolves from the facility in Ely and learn from lesson plans developed specifically for their grade level. Most programs are $75.

Teachers can order a Wolf Discovery Kit, which includes hands-on learning materials such as bones, fur and teeth for them to observe and pass around.

Similar programs are held hundreds of times every year for classrooms around North America and Europe.

In addition to the videoconferences, the International Wolf Center has educators who travel into schools to present programs to more than 15,000 students every year. That program is called Wolves at Our Door.

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The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit website.

Up to six wolves, in danger of starvation, could be moved this weekend

 

Contacts:
National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation – Carol Brady
Phone: 906-362-3152
E-mail: cbrady@nplsf.org

International Wolf Center – Chad Richardson
Phone: 763-560-7374, ext. 225
Email: chad@wolf.org
Cell: 651-214-4989

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation (The Foundation) announced today that, with the support of the International Wolf Center, an urgent final effort is underway to move four to six wolves to Isle Royale National Park over the next four days.

Earlier this year, two wolves from Michipicoten Island (located in northern Lake Superior) were moved to Isle Royale. Four to six wolves still remain on the island and are at risk since their only available winter prey on the island, caribou, are gone. Officials had hoped to move all of the wolves off Michipicoten earlier, but poor weather, government shutdowns and a lack of funding delayed that effort.

The Foundation and the International Wolf Center agree that this wolf relocation project needs a strong start to have a more immediate impact on the current burgeoning moose population on Isle Royale, where an estimate of more than 1,600 moose are threatening the ecosystem.

“On Michipicoten, nature’s lessons can be cruel and starvation is one of them,” said Sona Mehring, the chair of the Foundation. “For the remaining wolves on Michipicoten, that will be their fate unless we help move them to Isle Royale National Park, where their hunting skills and genetics can add value to establishing a new population of wolves on Isle Royale.”

“We’re especially proud of the fact that the International Wolf Center is helping to save the lives of a small pack of wolves on Michipicoten Island,” said the Center’s Executive Director Rob Schultz. “Since all of the caribou have been removed from Michipicoten, there’s nothing left for the wolves there to eat this winter and there is a real threat of starvation.”

It is estimated that the four-day effort, which will begin either Friday (March 22) or Saturday (March 23), will cost $100,000. The Foundation raised $30,000. The International Wolf Center raised an additional $45,000. The organizations have started a GoFundMe page to raise the final $25,000. That page can be found at bit.ly/isleroyalewolves.

“As we discussed this project, we found many people who supported seeing the forests of Isle Royale remaining healthy,” Mehring said. “We are close to realizing the goal of providing another capture opportunity to move these iconic wolves to an island that needs them in its ecosystem.”

Science has long showed that wolves play an important role in nature. This translocation shows how wolves can be used to naturally manage ungulate populations.

“Since the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact wolves have on ecosystems,” Schultz said. “A thriving wolf population in Isle Royale’s ecosystem will make a similar impact. If left unchecked, moose would over-consume the island’s vegetation. Apex predators, like wolves, are important components of any healthy, natural ecosystems.

“This shows just one more way we put our donor’s support to hard work to advance wolf populations around the world. We’re honored to team up with National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation to make a difference together.”

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National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of the natural resources and unique cultural heritage of Lake Superior’s five U.S. National Parks. National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation funds research, restoration, education, and resource protection projects for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation has a proven record of funding projects both large and small providing more that $1.5 million in funding across all five parks.

The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.

International Wolf Center will follow potential effects of delisting wolves from Endangered Species Act

Contact:
Chad Richardson, communications director
International Wolf Center
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — The protected status of gray wolves across the United States may soon change, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday. If wolves are federally delisted they will be managed by each state, likely paving the way for wolf hunting to resume in states with large wolf populations.

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the proposal Wednesday at a wildlife conference in Denver. A public comment period will follow before any final decisions can be made on the proposed change.

Wolves are listed in the Endangered Species Act and are federally protected throughout the 48 contiguous states except for a few western states where Congress delisted them (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington). Oregon, Washington and California protect their wolves by state law.

State wildlife officials estimate that wolves number approximately 2,650 in Minnesota, and another 1,500 live between Wisconsin and Michigan. Wolves were to be delisted when the population reached 1,250 for five years in Minnesota and 100 between Wisconsin and Michigan, but court battles have kept wolves returning to the endangered species list.

Should delisting occur, what is next for wolves in these three states? The International Wolf Center, based in Minnesota, will consult with biologists across the states to keep people informed about the potential effects of this delisting. Some of the questions the Center will pose to biologists are:

  • How could current state management policies change after the delisting?
  • How would removing the gray wolf from endangered or threatened status impact other species in their ecosystems?
  • How could transferring management of gray wolves to the states impact the future of wolf populations in neighboring states where populations are low or non-existent?
  • What does delisting mean for humans, livestock and pets that come in conflict with wolves?
  • What threats to wolf populations would come into play?
  • What wolf-free wildlands might allow for additional wolf population expansion?
  • How would this change impact human tolerance of wolves where wolf-human conflict has been more frequent?

Feedback

The International Wolf Center advocates on behalf of wolves through education – reaching an audience of nearly two million people annually who visit its website, discover its education center in Ely, Minnesota, read “International Wolf” magazine, or participate in its many outreach or interactive classroom experiences. To remain effective in being a source for science-based information about wolves, the Center does not take positions in matters of wolf management—but rather, encourages public dialogue and understanding of these often complex and controversial issues.

While education may not translate into immediate action, it does result in re-evaluation and change. As people gain knowledge and appreciation of wolves and their place as predators in the ecosystem, they become interested in wolf survival and recovery. Decades of research have unveiled the bioscience of this species. That research, used in public education, has motivated people to allow wolves to begin reclaiming portions of their former habitat, and has generated considerable public support for these engaging animals. The Center’s passion for wolves is at work throughout the world every day through the millions of people who have become inspired and involved as a result of its outreach and education initiatives.

Education is one of the most effective ways to influence public attitudes, and that’s critical to the future survival of wolf populations.

With that in mind, the Center is asking its members and the public to share what they value about wolves. The responses gathered may be published on Facebook, on wolf.org or in International Wolf magazine.

Click this link to share your comments with us: bit.ly/wolfvalues.

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.

For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit www.wolf.org.

Photo courtesy of National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation

Photo courtesy of National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation

HOUGHTON, MICH- During a narrow weather window between storms last week, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) successfully transferred four wolves to Isle Royale National Park.  Earlier this winter, severe weather on both sides of the border hampered the ability to capture and transfer wolves.  However, NPS staff worked diligently with ONMRF and over the course of four days successfully translocated Canadian wolves.  Two mainland wolves, one female and one male from the same pack and both with a black coat color variation, were captured on crown land near Wawa, Ontario, and transferred to Isle Royale.  Weather cleared long enough on Thursday to provide an opportunity to access Michipicoten Island Provincial Park, where two males were captured.

All the wolves were captured using OMNRF aircraft. The operation was coordinated by Kevin Middel, OMNRF, and Brent Patterson, OMNRF researcher and Trent University adjunct professor. Two National Park Service veterinarians, Michelle Verant and Jenny Powers along with Graham Crawshaw, an OMNRF veterinarian, supported the project to ensure animal welfare and assess the health of the wolves to be transferred.  Two veterinarians completed health assessments in Wawa and one veterinarian received the wolves on Isle Royale to ensure they were fit for release.  All four wolves were evaluated based on expectations for winter body conditions and deemed healthy enough for transfer and release.

The first Canadian wolf, a 65 pound female, arrived at Isle Royale on Tuesday afternoon.  The next day, OMNRF successfully captured a large 92 pound male from the same pack. He was held for evaluation and transported to Isle Royale and released on Thursday.  The clear skies on Thursday finally allowed OMNRF to reach Michipicoten Island Provincial Park.  While there, they captured two male wolves, one at the very end of the day as operations were winding down.  The first was delivered directly to Isle Royale and released in the late evening hours under clear starry skies on Thursday.  The team also captured the alpha male of the Michipicoten Island pack.  He was transported and released on Isle Royale Friday.

“I am impressed by the resilience this international team showed to overcome adversity and meet project objectives: polar vortex, federal government shutdown, complex aviation logistics, the list is endless,” stated Mark Romanski, Division Chief of Natural Resources for Isle Royale National Park and project manager for the reintroduction efforts.  He continued, “I am even more blown away by the resilience of these wolves who within hours after undergoing capture and handling and arriving on Isle Royale, immediately got on the trail of their pack mates.  These large males, all around 90 lbs., will almost certainly know what to do when they encounter a moose.”

NPS made the decision to restore predation, a key ecosystem dynamic, to Isle Royale National Park last June and sourcing the startup population from diverse geographic areas was essential to ensure genetic diversity. Canadian wolves have been a critical component to future success and graciously Ontario Premier Doug Ford approved the operation in October to support NPS objectives.  Understanding the  goal of balancing the male/female wolf ratio on Isle Royale combined with a need for robust wolf genetics from Canada, OMNRF personnel remained committed to providing wolves from Ontario to support the repopulation of Isle Royale.  Knowing weather could prevent access to Michipicoten Island, OMNRF worked with NPS to develop a strategy to acquire wolves from the mainland in Ontario if they were unable to access the island.

Superintendent of Isle Royale National Park, Phyllis Green stated: “ to see these wolves disappear into the forests of Isle Royale and to have an opportunity to start a new generation of wolves on the island fulfilled a major objective in the first year of reestablishing the population. The success reflected six months of planning and represented a major accomplishment by the agencies involved.” Changing ice conditions and winter storms foiled a previous attempt to acquire the Canadian wolves. This week afforded only four operating days between weather windows and the success of the operations can be attributed to the planning and expertise of the OMNRF. Green cited the amazing aircraft resources of the OMNRF, normally used for firefighting, which were critical in capturing the wolves and delivering them to Isle Royale National Park.

Additionally, the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation (NPLSF) has played a crucial role in supporting and documenting the translocation efforts from Canada.  When this translocation phase of the project experienced cost overruns due to weather, the Chair, Sona Mehring, worked with the International Wolf Center to ensure the operation continued through the end of the week.  The Foundation plans to continue to support the remaining two years of the project and is developing documentary films regarding the project for audiences of all ages.

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www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for the 417 parks in the National Park System and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice

Public can visit during construction

Contact:
Chad Richardson, communications director
International Wolf Center
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225

A dynamic new exhibit is coming to the International Wolf Center to replace the celebrated “Wolves and Humans” exhibit that has been on display at the Center since it opened in 1993.

To prepare for the new gallery, staff are documenting the current exhibit and will dismantle it in February. Beginning February 18, the Wolves and Humans exhibit will be closed to the public. The rest of the Center will remain open to visitors on weekends for its usual winter hours. While the exhibit area will be closed, visitors will still be able to watch the Center’s ambassador wolves, listen to numerous programs in the auditorium and watch wolf-related movies in the theater.

“Board members, wolf biologists, volunteers and staff have been planning with the design team for nearly a year,” said Rob Schultz, executive director. “The innovative exhibit will will use interactive technology and powerful stories to teach kids and adults about the roles that wolves play in ecosystems, and how they are managed to co-exist with humans.”

Since the original exhibit was built in the early 1980’s by the Science Museum of Minnesota, the world has learned much more about wolves. Scientific research is evolving, the climate is changing, research is expanding and biologists now have a deeper understanding of wolves and wolf behavior than when the original display was created.

“The new exhibit will give visitors, especially families, an opportunity to experience wolves in fun, creative ways,” Schultz said. “A howling room will simulate what it’s like to hear wolves at night in the wilderness, an airplane cockpit will recreate the unique birds-eye view that just a few biologists get while tracking and observing wolves from the air, and a science lab will help children of all ages explore the biology of wolves.”

The new exhibit has been made possible through a $1 million grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The International Wolf Center Board has been deeply appreciative of support for the project by Representative Rob Ecklund, Senator Tom Bakk, Ely Mayor Chuck Novak, and the Ely City Council.

Installation of the new exhibit will begin in early April, and the staff anticipate it will be open to the public by May 1, in time for the busy summer tourist season in Ely..

The Center’s winter hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tireless advocate for wolves in Japan accepts award before her peers and heroes

Contact:
Chad Richardson, communications director
International Wolf Center
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225
chad@wolf.org

For Immediate Release – January 17, 2019

It was clear to the entire audience that Narumi Nambu had just received the surprise of her life.

In a packed hotel ballroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA during the International Wolf Symposium, Nambu had just been named the recipient of the Who Speaks for Wolf Award presented by the International Wolf Center.

As she walked toward the stage to accept the award, Nambu’s hands covered her mouth in excitement. “I thought it was a mistake when I heard my name, especially since Japan has not approached the world level of wolf conservation,” she said. “Because my country no longer has any wolves, it can only take from the world but cannot reciprocate”

Nambu earned the award for her work with the Japan Wolf Association. She’s an active member of the association, which aims to have wolves reintroduced in Japan. Nambu has translated multiple wolf books into Japanese, researches Japanese attitudes about wolves and their possible reintroduction there, speaks at conferences and publishes in a variety of forums.

“There were many researchers and educators from all over the world at the symposium,” Nambu said. “I was walking on air when I could speak and talk directly with these people. There were many experiences and ways to learn at the conference other than from formal papers about human and wolf society. At the banquet many of my heroes were gathered.”

Dr. L. David Mech, the founder of the International Wolf Center, had this to say about Nambu’s efforts: “I have known Narumi since the Center’s 2013 International Wolf Symposium, and she is one of the most passionate and enthusiastic supporters of wolf reintroduction into Japan.”

This is the first time in International Wolf Center history that the Who Speaks for Wolf Award has been given to a recipient from Asia. The Center’s Executive Director, Rob Schultz, was thrilled to see Nambu earn the award.

“Narumi’s efforts in Japan illustrate that wolves across the world play a vital role in our ecosystems,” he said. “The work she’s doing there is all too familiar to those who have done similar work in North America. We’re honored to present her with this award and thrilled to celebrate her success in front of her peers.”

The Japan Wolf Association (JWA) was formed in 1993. The JWA estimates that animals with no natural predators left in Japan, mostly sika deer and wild boar, have caused the equivalent of $1.8 billion in agricultural and forestry damage to date.

Preserving the environment for future generations in Japan motivates Nambu to continue her efforts for wolf reintroduction.

“I love my own country, Japan,” she said. “I want to leave the nature of Japan in a beautiful condition for the next generation. In biology I learned that wolves are important in nature. But Japanese society must learn how to relate with wild animals. I believe that connects with the happiness of people in the future.”

Nambu was quick to point out that she’s one small part of a big organization working hard at reintroducing wolves in Japan.

“More than me, there are other people in Japan who have worked longer and harder for wolf reintroduction—for example, Dr. Naoki Maruyama, leader of the Japan Wolf Association, along with my husband, Hiroshi Asakura, and local wolf educators,” she said. “This award is not only for me but for all of them, as well. I hope to be only the representative. This award is not like the goal tape at the end of a race, but instead it is the starter gun.”

The annual “Who Speaks for Wolf” award is given by the International Wolf Center to an individual, who has made exceptional contributions to wolf education, by teaching people how the wolf lives and by placing the wolf in the broader context of humankind’s  relationship to nature.

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THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.

The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museumexhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.

For Immediate Release – April 5, 2017

1,000,000 VISITORS

International Wolf Center’s interpretive center in Ely passes one million visitor mark

Ely, Minn.  The International Wolf Center achieved an important milestone on Saturday evening, March 25, when the one-millionth visitor passed through its doors during the weekly “What’s For Dinner” program.

“We’ve been incredibly excited for this day,” said Rob Schultz, executive director.  “For the past several weeks our staff have been anxiously watching the attendance records as we anticipate our one-millionth visitor.”

To celebrate reaching the one-millionth visitor mark, the Center will hold a special Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 22, with half-price admission, refreshments, family activities and special programs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The International Wolf Center has been welcoming visitors to its Ely Interpretive Center since opening in July, 1993.  During its first few years, attendance numbers were very high as people came to see the new facility.  But by the late 1990’s, attendance began to decline.

Recent efforts to increase promotion and offer new exhibits each year have had a positive effect on bringing more people to Ely and through the Center’s doors, with last year’s attendance increasing by 27% to 44,381 guests – making 2016 the largest attendance at the International Wolf Center since 2004.

“It hasn’t been easy to turn things around,” said Schultz. “While pup years bring more guests through the door, we’ve had to find other new ways to promote ourselves, to draw excitement for our programs and Ambassador wolves, and to expand the kinds of special exhibits to attract new audiences.”

With grant funding from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), recent collaborations with local northern lights photographer Heidi Pinkerton have boosted attendance.  This upcoming summer, the Center’s advertising campaign will feature Axel and Grayson, two arctic wolves who have grown significantly over the winter months after arriving from Canada last spring as three-pound pups.

For information about the Earth-Day celebration at the Center, visit www.wolf.org

 

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THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education.  The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.

The Center educates through its website wolf.org, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.