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February 19, 2013

Kind News Story: "Wolf Girl" Goes to Yellowstone

Eleven-year-old Alyssa Grayson joined wolf experts for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to observe wolves in the wild

Kind News magazine, February/March 2013

  • Alyssa inside an abandoned wolf den at Yellowstone National Park.

Alyssa Grayson spends much of her spare time working on behalf of wolves.  The 11-year-old was recently invited to join wolf experts on a trip to Yellowstone  National Park. Here’s a little of what she told us about her “once-in-a-lifetime” journey.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of seeing my first wild wolf," says Alyssa. And on the first day of her trip, her dream came true.

While hiking up a trail with her guides, Alyssa spotted wolf 06. The female was famous for being one of the few wolves able to take down an elk by herself! Alyssa knew it was wolf 06 from the radio collar the animal was wearing. The collars are put on wolves in the park by members of the Yellowstone Wolf Project. The collars help them keep track of how the wolves are doing.

Later that day, Alyssa’s group spotted more wolf tracks. “They were the size of my hand,” she says. They followed the tracks and suddenly saw a big black wolf. He stopped and howled, then continued across the river.

“We were only 20 to 30 feet away from him!” exclaims Alyssa. To her delight, Alyssa learned it was wolf 712M—the same animal Alyssa’s family had sponsored for a radio collar.  “It’s one thing to see a picture of him,” says Alyssa. “But it’s another to see him in the wild!”

Alyssa was amazed at the animals she saw in Yellowstone: wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears, and eagles. She watched wolves chasing an elk, otters sliding across an icy river, and bison huddled together for protection from a coyote. She even crawled inside an abandoned wolf den. (See photo above.)

One day, Alyssa saw massive grizzly bear tracks. “We went to inspect some fur stuck to ...  a tree,” says Alyssa. “A branch broke, and we spun around expecting a bear. Instead, there was a beautiful grayish-white wolf running through the trees!"

"Yellowstone was an amazing adventure,” she says. “I’m going to ask my friends to help protect wolves."

You can help wolves

Read Alyssa's journal about her Yellowstone trip, and learn what you can do to help wolves, on Alyssa's blog at wolfwatcher.org/news-2/alyssas-den-3/.

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