The details are still foggy about the plane crash near the east fork of the Toklat River.
Whatever the details, Alaskans live in an extreme land. While watching the news, you may hear tragedies of neighbors, school mates, old lovers it's a mine field. I can't explain the connection I feel to the trusted news men and women who bring me these stories.
Gordon Haber, 67, a wolf biologist, was on the plane. He had been a guest on my radio show during the fight to ban aerial wolf hunting. He was an advocate of science who seemed to find wolves less rabid than humans. His research and dedication to the science of wolves was relied upon for much of my own writing on the aerial hunting policies of Sarah Palin exactly one year before his death.
He wrote of his struggle against the state policies with no subtle words:
Unfortunately there are major problems for wolves in Alaska and elsewhere from heavy government-sanctioned killing, including with the use of airplanes and snowmobiles. There have even been Mengele-like experiments to convert their vibrant family groups (so-called packs) to sterile pairs across large regions. The vital underlying patterns of variation that define natural wolf-prey systems are being ignored and replaced. This is being done with parochial, anti-adaptive farming approaches to management that seldom if ever produce and sustain the high, stable numbers and yields of moose and caribou touted by proponents. Perhaps worst of all, these problems originate primarily from biologists and remain largely hidden from public notice due to outright deception.
He wasn't a snuggly guy. He was serious, and locked horns on occasion. Most people who care so passionately do. His website was dedicated to his life's work. His tweets were about the Toklat wolf "family" and his determination to see their recovery after a hunter killed the pack's alpha male and alpha female.
Some of my favorites:
Raw, wild beauty at the den tonite with the wolves howling a great chorus for me as rolling thunder from a passing storm shakes the valley.12:19 PM Jul 3rd from web
Grizz bear going same way on forest trail during my hike to den. Lukewarm droppings indicated he was a good half hour or more ahead of me.11:47 AM Jul 11th from web
Biologists are the primary culprits, not the governor and other policymakers. Blasting at these others diverts from the real cause.5:21 AM Jun 27th from web
The killing is far worse than the 100-200 wolves aerial-hunted each winter. Total of 1200-1500+ killed most years. Must address all of it.5:18 AM Jun 27th from web
This issue has been dumbed down to meaninglessness. The level of detail at these links is vital. Force yourself to understand it -you can!5:16 AM Jun 27th from web
Raw, gusty wind during den obs tonite,55F -watching wolves not always fun and games. Sitting in those conditions for hours builds character.1:49 PM Jun 21st from web
Gordon's last tweet makes me curious:
Go to new photo essay at Website http://tinyurl.com/ybjfu6e. Been busy with court action against state,etc but more on the way here+website10:36 AM Oct 2nd from web
I wonder when the wolves howl tonight, do they know what an advocate, friend, lover of nature and defender of justice they have lost in the death of a man who knew them better than most. We have lost one of the pack leaders in the war to defend the wolf, on the same land where he mapped their lives.
RIP Gordon Haber.
RIP The Wolves He Tried To Save.