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The eastern timber wolf, aka canis lupus lycaon, is a sub species of the grey wolf. There are approximately 825 wolves in Wisconsin and that is largely due to preservation societies such as The Timber Wolf Preservation Society (TWPS) in Greendale, WI.
This is only a sliver of what you will learn while taking a tour of the preservation with tour guide and volunteer, Michael Zweifel. Mike, 53, has been with TWPS for the past 4 years.
The mission of TWPS is simple. They aim to preserve the timber wolf species as well as all other wildlife. They encourage research which will aid in this preservation and education of the timber wolf and its environment. They teach about predator/prey balance which is essential for the public to understand. And they maintain a viable breeding gene pool of the eastern timber wolf.
Mike has had a passion for wolves as long as he can remember.
“I have been interested in wolves for most of my life. I found The Timber Wolf Preservation Society on my way home on South 76th Street. I took a tour of the place and knew I had to become a volunteer.”
Volunteering on the weekends – when TWPS is open to the public – Mike gives tours and has various other duties at the preservation. Something he finds challenging is changing the public’s mind about the danger of wolves.
“It is difficult getting people to believe that wolves are not evil and that they do not attack people in the wild. No one has ever been killed by wolves in North America.”
And in fact, according to TWPS’ website, there has never been a documented case of a healthy or unprovoked wolf killing a human. A wolf’s fear of man is so strong that they will avoid man rather than confront him.
Having said that, it is important to respect the power of the wolf and understand that they are not pets. Wolves have jaw pressure at the measurement of 1500 PSI. So, trying to hug or poke at them would not be a wise move.
Wolves at the preservation are monitored constantly. They are cared for by trained caretakers and medical staff. The wolves are able to live past their typical life span of 7-8 years old when they are in captivity. This helps the population grow and hopefully they will one day be eliminated from the endangered list. But a very important part of that is education the public and easing the misunderstandings which exist to this day.
When Mike is not volunteering at TWPS, he is working full time as a lube tech at Gentile Automotive on Washington Avenue. He has been a resident of Sturtevant for 42 years and loves living in the village.
Mike always puts the wolves first, but he also enjoys astronomy, photography, old cars, motorcycles, nature and hunting (for food ONLY!!).
Mike encourages all to visit The Timber Wolf Preservation at 6669 South 76th Street in Greendale, WI. They are typically open most weekends (though closed July 23-24) from 11am – 3pm. Admission for adults is $5, children $1 and for members, free.