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Earlier this summer, my family had the pleasure of honoring my parents at their 60th wedding anniversary celebration. I joined my two sisters and brother, along with spouses, children, grandchildren and friends, to share in this milestone event. Like every family, ours has developed a distinctive personality and culture. Both of my parents are strong leaders in our family, yet in very different ways.
Our gregarious mother grew up in a big family, and believes that to fully develop as human beings we must engage in the world around us. She teaches us the joys of serving our community, the importance of reading and staying informed on issues of the day, the value of respecting all living things, and the positive impact of striving to understand others’ perspectives while staying true to our own values. Our more reserved father grew up on a large cattle ranch, working hard from a very early age to care for the land and livestock that was the lifeblood of his family. He later became a mechanical engineer and continues to be an example of integrity, a strong work ethic, creative problem solving, a “fix it don’t toss it” philosophy and a deep appreciation of nature and the outdoors. The blended traits of both parents are clearly evident in their children. Both of our loving parents have a wonderful sense of humorand provide cohesion of our family. Families, including mine, can be complex and messy, with constantly changing dynamics – and the impact of family on our lives is profound.
In this issue of WOLF TRACKS, our feature story explores the characteristics of wolf families. The similarity to our own human families is remarkable. Dr. Gordon Haber, who studied wolves in Alaska for over four decades, wrote “Wolves are perhaps the most social of all nonhuman vertebrates. A ‘pack’ of wolves is not a snarling aggregation of fighting beasts, each bent on fending only for itself, but a highly organized, well disciplined group of related individuals or family units, all working together in a remarkably amiable, efficient manner.” The health of a wolf population cannot be determined by numbers alone – instead we must focus on the health of these complex family groups. Like my family and yours, wolf family groups develop their own distinctive personality and cultural traditions that are attuned to their environment.
Thanks to you, Wolf Haven continues our work in the areas of sanctuary, education and conservation. Our annual report highlights the quality care our current wolves receive, and our rescue of displaced, captive-born wolves that need a home. We continue to support the Mexican wolf and red wolf recovery efforts. Thanks to our dedicated staff, interns and volunteers, our education outreach is reaching an ever expanding audience around the world, as we work tirelessly to ensure a world where wolf family groups can live as intended. It is all about family.
Diane Gallegos, July 2014