Friends literally howled in tribute to Gordon Haber on Saturday as more than 80 people filled the Campbell Creek Science Center at a memorial for the fiery wolf biologist.
Haber died in an Oct. 14 plane crash in Denali National Park and Preserve, one of countless flights he's made during decades of single-minded study of eastern Denali wolves. Speakers Saturday remembered that devotion as well as Haber's famously sometimes-thorny personality.
"Gordon was a brilliant and dedicated scientist. He was quirky, he was obstinate, but most of all he was a fearless advocate for wolves," said wildlife photographer Johnny Johnson, a longtime friend.
At one point he led the crowd in a group howl. "He'd like that," Johnson said, pointing to the sky after 30 seconds of yowls.
Marine science professor Rick Steiner read a statement from head of the National Park Service saying Haber, 67, helped shape the way the world views Denali wolves.
"His passion was informed by his work and he was never, ever, shy about passing his views on to us all, sometimes at different decibel levels, over four decades," Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis wrote.
Pictures of the biologist and the wolves he studied circled the room. Organizers encouraged the group to continue his political work and handed out to-do lists -- pushing for a change to the makeup of the Board of Game, testifying against the predator control programs Haber fiercely criticized.
Priscilla Feral, president of the national animal-rights group Friends of Animals, rented space in the science center for the event, Steiner said. Haber's work -- including his papers and Web site,
www.alaskawolves.org -- will be dedicated to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, he said.