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ROMEO | THE MOST LOVED WOLF IN ALASKA

In 2003, a black wolf was spotted in Juneau, Alaska. But the wolf showed no sign of aggression like the town suspected. Instead, he wanted a friendly interaction this the people and their dogs. Nick Jans, a former hunter (and now wildlife photographer) first discovered the wolf by his tracks.

Soon, he was seen in person—and described as one of the largest wolves the town had ever come across. One morning, Nick’s pet dog approached the jet-black wolf. Of course, Nick was terrified. But instead of a brutal fight breaking out, The wolf began to wag his tail and play bow. Then, the two animals ran around and played like they’d known each other for years! This kind of behavior was very remarkable for a wolf. Normally, wolves and dogs are known to be rivals.


Because of his sociable behavior towards the dogs, and because he delivered a friendly demeanor towards the people too, he got the nickname ‘Romeo’ since he proliced along with the doggies and showed devotion to a particular labrador who was his ‘Juliet”. He even showed affection to the children of Juneau. These interactions were shared with millions across the world, and they fell equally in love. But the most amazing thing about Romeo was that he was completely relaxed around the townspeople—because wolves are typically fearful of humans. Every day the wolf would come back to visit the town and play with the dogs. Romeo was also quite the romantic male, often seen touching noses with his Juliet; the yellow labrador.

Like in the folktales, (The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter, and the Wolf, etc) paint wolves as evil, blood-thirsty monsters. Although, this story proves it all wrong. Each day, the people would say things like “I’m going to the lake to see that Romeo wolf" again.” For six years, the wolf visited the town. But one day, he stopped coming back. People began to be concerned for Romeo as he was not there. A supporter of Romeo went on a search for him and found his body later that morning. He was shot and killed by poachers. The poachers’ names were: Myers III and Jeff Peacock. The two were arrested a few days later for illegally killing Romeo. When the news broke, people were extremely devastated and angry that their companion was brutally killed. This might be the most emotional story out of all stories. Since Romeo was such a popular wolf, Nick wrote a book for him, made a memorial plaque for him, and each time the book is read, many cried—remembering this amazing and beautiful wolf. Romeo will always be remembered as a legacy and the world’s friendliest wolf. R.I.P, Romeo…I will miss you, along with all your friends…




 

Image copyright: Nick Jans 2022


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