By Kelly Fenton
“Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf,” and where did this fear originate? I have a hunch that several classical stories incited terror into us at a young age. I’m talking about “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Peter and the Wolf.” These stories portray a horrible wolf plotting to eat a girl and her basket of food as she travels to visit her sick grandmother; a wolf who hungers after three pigs trying to settle down in their new homes; and lastly a wolf who eats a duck as his meal and is then captured by a boy. All of these tales describe the wolf as an evil, cunning creature maliciously stalking its prey and highly D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S.
But what is the reality of today’s wolf? Are these stories still valid? I think NOT.
The fact is, wolves are an important part of our ecosystems and are interwoven into the history of the United States. We share more traits with wolves than one might assume. Wolves live in packs, or groups, just like we live in families and communities. The members of the pack help to take care of the baby wolves and every wolf helps to protect their territory. How many of us seek out a solid pack to help us raise our children? Groups are so important when children or pups are little and we need extra support.
Wolves are also great communicators (just like us humans)! They “talk” through facial expressions, vocalizations and with their body. They may not use cell phones o r tweet but they certainly get the job done.
Wolves also need to eat to survive. Imagine going a few days without a meal. I’m sure that you’d get pretty ravenous. You might even follow a girl with a basket of food through the woods.
Years ago wolves were found throughout most of North America, but now populations are declining and to day the number of wolves has drastically decreased to the point where some wolf species are severely endangered. Although not dangerous to people as once thought, (or small, personified pigs) people can certainly be dangerous to wolves. It’s time we love wolves for the creatures they are: loyal, intelligent, friendly, playful (towards each other) and adaptable. Come visit us this February a t Roger Williams Park Zoo as we teach our youngest pack members the truth about wolves.
Preschool Adventures at Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Ave. Providence RI 02907
Kelly Fenton is the Early Childhood Program Instructor at Roger Williams Park Zoo. She is also a Life Coach, movement instructor and play advocate. Kelly has be en immersed in formal and informal education for ye ars and believes that playing with kids are where it’s at! Kelly loves getting dirty in her garden, lounging i n the sun, chatting with neighbors and strolling around Providence where she lives with her wife Nicole.