During her recent trip to New York, Jane and her family paid a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center and finally met the wolves she has been drawing for years, fulfilling a dream to meet WCC’s beloved Ambassador wolf Atka! After receiving the warmest of welcomes from WCC's stellar team, Executive Director Maggie Howell gave her a tour of the centre.
WCC participates in the species survival and recovery plan for critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves. Amongst the most endangered canids on Earth, fourteen Mexican gray wolves and twelve red wolves live in large, private enclosures to ensure minimal contact with humans. Jane was fortunate to catch fleeting glimpses of both species.
Set in stunning Westchester County woodland, WCC is also home to four Ambassador wolves, Atka, Zephyr, Alawa and Nikai. These wolves are integral to the education programme, which provides better understanding of this highly intelligent, shy and family-oriented animal.
Jane was privileged to meet and spend time with WCC Ambassador wolves and was overwhelmed by their beauty and the affectionate greeting they gave her.
"It was a deeply moving experience to finally meet Atka. Despite studying many photographs and videos to make drawings of him, nothing prepared me for just how beautiful, majestic and gentle he is. To look into his golden eyes as he greeted me so fondly was hugely humbling and will forever remain with me as a cherished memory."
She also experienced wolf song during her visit.
“Inspired by their work educating humans, I have made drawings of all four Ambassador wolves and have formed a personal bond with them over the years. To sit beside Zephyr in person and hear and feel his soulful howl echo through me while Alawa and Nikai joined the chorus was otherworldly. It felt like a reunion with old friends.”
Jane was also honoured to meet the WCC team in person and hear about their work.
“I love the creative approach WCC uses to share information about its work. You can watch Mexican and red wolves live on webcams, keep up with the Ambassadors' daily antics on Facebook, and receive vital bulletins about conservation. I have always been in awe of people who work on the frontline of conservation. Those of us who love wildlife rely on their devotion and their ability to endure heartbreak to win hope.”
A little chat with Zephyr
Alawa, Zephyr's sister says hello
Jane's Northern Inuit dog and muse Lily inspired her to learn more about wolves.
"Northern Inuits have more lupine characteristics than other domesticated dog breeds. With many wolf species under threat, I felt I owed a debt of gratitude to Lily’s wild kin for providing me with the privilege of sharing my life with her."
Jane became aware of WCC several years ago through her interest in exploring environmental issues through her art. She has enjoyed contact with members of its wonderful team ever since.
Follow the Wolf Conservation Center at www.nywolf.org or on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Jane's drawings and limited edition prints of the Ambassador and red wolves are sold in support of WCC's vital work and can be viewed here.
With heartfelt thanks to Maggie Howell, Rebecca Bose, Robyn Abbott and all at WCC and to friend and wildlife advocate David E. Shellenberger for organising her visit. Not least, thank you to the Ambassadors who educate and inspire a global audience.