Nov 30 - Dec 3
Lamar Buffalo Ranch
Joanna Lambert, Ph.D.
Natural History, Wildlife, Wolves
Gray wolves are just one of approximately 6,000 mammal species on Earth today. But for humans they are very much more than just a biological species, and always have been. Why do gray wolves loom so large in myth and legend? Why are wolves – the closest living relative of ‘man’s best friend’ – so often despised and ruthlessly persecuted? In this seminar, we will explore the complicated 70,000+ year relationship that modern humans have had with gray wolves since we first encountered them dispersing from Africa into Eurasia.
Through engaging lecture, lively discussion, and as much time possible in the field observing wolves (weather and conditions permitting), we will discuss our own evolutionary history and how we interact with wolves and other predators on the landscape. We will discuss ways of knowing and understanding another species from many perspectives – ecology, behavior, genetics, culture, and psychology. Woven throughout our discussions will be an exploration of the seemingly dichotomous relationship that humans have with wolves versus our beloved dog companions and how humans can simultaneously revile and revere another biological species.
About the instructor
Joanna Lambert, Ph.D., is a scientist and tenured professor of animal evolutionary ecology and conservation biology at the University of Colorado – Boulder. She has a deep passion for the natural world resulting in a career spent publishing and teaching about the ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of wild mammals. Her wildlife research has taken her to every continent on the planet though she has spent most time working in equatorial Africa (>30 years) and more recently in Yellowstone National Park where she studies canid biology. One of her proudest recent conservation-related contributions has been in the effort to restore gray wolves to her home state of Colorado, an initiative founded on the science of reintroduction and recovery of wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
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