Woestehoff said she saw the wolf and quickly picked up her 18-month-old daughter. Then she and her friend reported the wolf on a zoo emergency phone. The wolf was running but didn’t appear to be going after anyone, she said.
“It looked like it was scared, like it didn’t know where to go. It was definitely out of its element,” she said. “It was more frightened of the people than anything else. It looked cornered.”
A Mexican gray wolf escaped from the Minnesota Zoo today and was later shot and killed by the zoo’s animal escape team. The zoo explained that they made the call to shoot with a gun, rather than with tranquilizers, because of the particulars of the situation. This quote from the Minnesota Public Radio article about the event stuck with me long after my initial reading. There is something very strange to me that an animal coming from the natural world should be out of its element or at odds with that world. I understand the dangers to human life of having a top predator like the wolf roaming around an urban/suburban environment. It is so strange to me, though, that we have built up so much of our own world around us that a perfectly natural thing is effectively rendered unnatural.
Later, as I was flipping through John Caddy’s book With Mouths Open Wide, I came across a poem that seemed to fit right along with this whole thing:
Cougar locks her long eyes on mine, aware
she is only one leap from home.
I’ve carried the catnip harvest to Como Zoo,
a grocery sack for each big cat–my friend Bob
the keeper spreads the whole cut plants
to the Siberian tigers and African lions first,
leopards, cheetahs, then the New World cats,
the muscled jaguar of the Yucatan; our North American cougar.
The exotics revel in their tropic ways,
It is what I’ve hoped. I have given pleasure.
The tigers roll in it and bite and croon and drowse,
lions speed up to roar and cuff,
the leopards drape boneless on their tree,
and smile, extend their claws into the wood
over and deeper and over,
cheetahs increase their neurotic pace.
The jaguar decides he is made of jewels and convinces everyone.
The human smiles are catching and wide.
But the temperate cougar
nibbles some leaves, strokes her cheek in them,
sits neatly just behind the glass and
locks on my eyes, aware she is only
one long bound from home.
She knows where she lives.
She would not freeze next month;
our December is hers.
She can see white rabbits in snow,
and spot the grouse’s breathing.
So we stare into each other a long time, a little stoned.
Things get so clear we both disappear.
There is a moment when the glass wavers,
her haunches tense–
Caddy, John. “Catnip.” With mouths open wide: new and selected poems. Minneapolis: Milkweeds Editions, 2008. 19-20. Print.
I love John Caddy‘s work. He is a fellow Minnesotan. He is an artist and a scientist. His poems stretch a great expanse, and yet they all hold a kind of simple beauty. His craft is one to which I aspire. I actually found him by accident the summer of 2007 when I randomly pulled his book off of the library shelf. Lucky me.