Dr. McCleery Lobo Wolves Digital Archive

Interview with Dr. Randall L. Eaton

Description

An interview with Dr. Randall L. Eaton regarding his 1974 Pacific Search Press article "The Lonely Plight of the Lobo Wolves."

Interviewee

Dr. Randall L. Eaton

Interviewer

Kirsten Canfield

Date

November 25, 2013

Format

Interview

Dr. Eaton: The entire story of the lobos is indeed tragic as you well know. I didn't really know the Lynch family, though I suppose their intentions were honorable. You might appreciate that I was a leader at that time in the zoo/wildlife park field regarding naturalism of animal exhibition and also was a leading authority of larger carnivores, their ecology and behavior as well as exhibition and propagation, so from my point of view at the time when I wrote the article, Lobo Land was another road side attraction.

Canfield: Had you had any further interaction with Lobo Land before or after the events described in your article "The Lonely Plight of the Lobo Wolves?"

Dr. Eaton: Actually some things I recollect now are that I did try to help the Lynches in several ways, e.g., recruiting the assistance of Office of Endangered Species of UJSFWS, the American Zoo Association, foremost wolf authorities, etc., as well as my own assistance in way of improving exhibits, improved publicity and promotion, and they showed no interest whatsoever, as though they held some secret treasure and were fearful of losing it or having it stolen.

Canfield: Was there any reaction to the article?

Dr. Eaton: Some from northwest people interested in endangered species.

Canfield: Have you heard anything new about the organization since writing the article?

Dr. Eaton: I learned later that they relocated, As you know.

Canfield: One statement in your article is of particular interest to me - you say that Dr. Durward Allen indicated that authorities had a change of heart regarding Dr. McCleery's wolves and destroyed all but one of them after Dr. McCleery had had them for a while. How did you find this information, and is there anywhere where I may find more information about this?

Dr. Eaton: Dr. Allen was among the foremost authorities on wolves, as was his student, Dr. David Mech, and Allen was an expert on the history of wildlife conservation in America. I cannot tell you his sources, only that if he said it you could believe it was so, which, in this case would suggest that the lobo wolves were in fact hybrids, not pure lobos, and they did not have the robust size you'd expect for pure-blooded lobos.

Canfield: You mention that qualified wolf biologists have tried to study the animals but were snubbed. Are you able to tell me more about the attempts made to study the lobos?

Dr. Eaton: Dr. Allen had been snubbed, as had Dr. Jim Foster, DVM, of Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle.