Timber Wolf Preservation Society Inc. closed last week after 47 years of educating the public about its wolf population.I've been to the park a number of times over the years and have enjoyed the visits. I also never had gone there without learning something that I hadn't been aware of before.
The society, which began in 1967, began as a timber wolf farm after the organization's founder, Jim Rieder, purchased an eastern timber wolf cub taken out of the wild. He did so with the mission "to preserve the timber wolf and other wildlife in Wisconsin and provide education to the public so that the wolf in Wisconsin could thrive and survive," said Nancy Jo Dowler, director of animal care and president of the organization.
The society had its "heyday in the '80s and '90s, because no one had seen a wolf before," she said. "We've educated thousands of people about Timber Wolves, and I feel like Jim's dream and mission has reached fruition."
At its peak, the society housed more than 20 wolves, Dowler said. The preservation now has only one, named "Timber," who hides from the public.
Although Dowler said she still feeds and cares for Timber, the society discontinued its services and will no longer be offering public viewings. Until last week, the preservation was open on the weekends and to visitor groups.
"It was a very difficult and complicated decision to make, but the writing seemed to be on the wall," Dowler said.
A lack of public interest in the wolves and limited volunteer assistance led to the operation's closure, she said.
Milwaukee, really all of Wisconsin, has lost yet another treasure than cannot be replaced.