By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel
The Northland College Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI) in Ashland announced on Friday it has hired wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven to head its Timber Wolf Alliance program.
“When it comes to understanding wolves, there is no one better qualified than Adrian,” said Mark Peterson, SOEI executive director, in a press release.
Wydeven retired earlier this year as a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His 32-year career with the DNR included work as wolf biologist from 1990 through 2013.
He also served on the Timber Wolf Alliance advisory council since 1990.
Northland College started the Timber Wolf Alliance in 1987 with the DNR and other organizations to promote wolf recovery and educate people about wolves in the state. In the early 1990s, TWA expanded to promote wolf recovery into Michigan as wolves began to recolonize that state.
“Wolves are still controversial and the issues around wolves are more complex,” Wydeven said. “I look forward to helping TWA continue to be a leader in promoting science-based conservation, sound management, and public education about wolves.”
Wydeven recently coauthored a paper with Northland College professor Erik Olson that argues pendulum swings in wolf management have led to increased conflict, increased poaching and a legislated wolf hunt.
The paper appeared last fall in the journal Conservation Letters; another version will be published in the International Wolf Center magazine later this fall, according to SOEI.
Wydeven served as senior editor for a book titled, “Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes Region of the United States: An Endangered Species Success Story,” and most recently wrote a book chapter for “Wild Wolves We Have Known.” He has also authored or co-authored over 40 articles about wolves.
Wydeven says he hopes to raise the prominence of TWA in promoting good science regarding wolves and sound conservation practices.
“TWA has always had strong working relationships with both the Wisconsin and Michigan DNRs,” he said. “I plan to continue those relationships and to work toward making wolf management more inclusive.”
Specifically he said he hopes to add more voices – such as American Indian tribes – to the conversation around wolves.
“There’s still is a lot of misinformation regarding wolves,” Wydeven said. “Such misinformation about wolves caused them to disappear from the state in the first place. In the past, TWA provided educational programs that allowed wolves to return to Wisconsin and Michigan on their own.”
He hopes to continue that educational emphasis and to respond quickly to correct misleading information “so we can continue to maintain healthy populations of wolves in our region.”