Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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07/20/2006: "Romeo's Bleeding"

I just read in our local newspaper the Juneau Empire that the body of Romeo, our beloved celebrity black wolf, was found (illegally) shot dead off of Thane Road.

Romeo was often seen out near the Mendenhall Glacier during the winter and people would let their dogs play with him. There was a controversy last winter when a man claimed that Romeo ate his weiner puppy but the claim was unsubstatiated.

They are doing genetic testing to verify that the black wolf is Romeo, but how many jet black wolves do you figure live in Juneau? My heart feels truly broken.

romeo (14k image)
Photo courtesy of Brian Wallace at the Juneau Empire

Replies: 18 Comments

on Thursday, July 20th, Cody said

I'm sorry to hear about your community's loss. Romeo is definitely a beautiful animal and appears to have been relatively mild in demeanor to boot. But I'm perplexed by how people in the community seem to regard him as some sort of pet, a harmless woodland creature that one can send their dogs to play with, instead of as a wild animal that deserves its space. It's that supposedly harmless interaction between animal and human that gets people hurt or, as it often does, killed.

on Thursday, July 20th, Kasia said

I love wolves! I've never seen a black one. (only a grey one) So sorry this one is dead! :(

on Thursday, July 20th, Elise said

Hi Cody, if I had a dog there's no way I'd let it romp with a wild animal...but there's an area out by the glacier where people let their dogs go off leash, and Romeo would come out of the woods and he'd run around with the other dogs playfully for awhile and then take off again.

I don't think there was anything intentional about it. I agree that wild animals should stay wild, and we have ordinances against feeding bears, wolves, birds or any other wild animal and I think most people respect that.

Did you see Grizzly Man btw? What did you think?

on Thursday, July 20th, berry bowman connell said

OK, well, usually, I'm sure folks see m'comments
and wonder what kind'a drugs is he on,
but, fer cryin' out loud!
What is with people who think killing wildlife
is a good thing t'do!
And, this is the scond time I've
offered up this lil gem. but, if they give people hunting licsenses, how about giving folkks a licsesnse to hunt hunters, too!

Legal or no, the animal had everybit as much right to be alive as any human being!

Damn that pisses me off!
And it ain't a whole lot better here, either.
We have enough roadkill on Indiana highways t'feed a small nation!

'Course, this from a guy who cries when he hits a bird, but, screw that! Local hunters
get nothing but growl from me, and I ain't anywhere nice about the language in person, either!

Don't get me wrong.
I know there are still tribes that
hunt food t'suvive,
But, evidently, the idea that we have t'be
as wasteful with life as we
are with fast food is absolutely uncalled for!

I think I may just be going off, here.

Ya know I respect yer pictures.
Even as beautiful as they were, when ya said, "no, " I didn't paint them.

On the other hand, I'm gonna copy the wolf picture and paint it.
Tell ya what. I won't sell it, but, rather, I'll donate it t'some charity or something.

But, at least it'll have a, I dunno....
more spirit?

on Thursday, July 20th, Elise said

Hi Berry, here in Alaska fish and game do a decent job with regulating hunting permits so that wild animal populations stay healthy and I have nothing against hunters in general (most Alaskan hunters are great conservationistsÖ) but the idiot who shot this wolf broke a number of laws, including shooting too close to a road, too close to a town, out of season, without a permit, etc. etc.

There are a lot of people here who depend on game for their subsistence and as a meat eater myself who simply buys from the grocery store a safe distance from the actual slaughter business...I can respect that. However, the person who killed this beautiful animal showed absolutely no respect for anyone or anything and I canít help feeling angry over it.

As for the photo, youíll see under it that Iíve credited it to a photographer at the Juneau Empire. I was going to just link to it but they make you register to read their stories now. Anyway, whatever you decide to do with the image, just be aware that it isnít mine.

on Thursday, July 20th, Cody said

Elise: I haven't seen the documentary, but I'm aware of the events surrounding Timothy Treadwell's and Amie Huguenard's deaths. It was tragic what happened to them, and I have sympathy for them and their families, but I can't say I was surprised at how they demised.

on Thursday, July 20th, dad said


on Thursday, July 20th, Elise said

I wasn't surprised either but it was very sad and the movie is really facinating, you should check it out if you get a chance (after an inconvenient truth!)...
And nope, sorry dad but not yet with your painting. I'm going to work on it some more this weekend though.

on Friday, July 21st, willow said

That's a shame about the black wolf! Sounds like a beautiful animal. I thought Grizzly Man was an interesting movie, and TT sure did get capture some beautiful footage of the animals. But it was always a huge risk, wasn't it? And I do think he just couldn't seem to cope with everyday society, and sort of lost touch with the reality of the situation.

Growing up, my father and brothers did a lot of hunting, and we always ate what they had killed.
I had to eat everything from rabbit and pheasant to deer and bear.( Maybe this explains why I am now a borderline vegetarian?) I think if people actually eat the meat they have killed, then hunting isn't so bad.

Now I'm off to make a tossed salad!

on Friday, July 21st, holly said

Oh, he was beautiful! And then just discarded like a piece of garbage. Stupid fecking people. This just makes me sick.

I'm with Berry-- I'd love a license to hunt hunters.

on Friday, July 21st, holly said

Well, at least guys with guns who enjoy killing for the sake of killing...

on Friday, July 21st, Elise said

Hi Willow, I had the same feeling about Grizzly Man...and I go back and forth between being a strict vegetarian, a borderline vegetarian, and (and currently) an omnivore.

Hi Holly, are you feeling better yet?

Romeo was indeed very very beautiful...I feel sick as well. It reminds me of that scene in Dances with Wolves where the main guy gets captured and his wolf friend tries to kind of follow them and the soldiers pick up their rifles and shoot him, just for the fun of it. Yeah! Killing is fun! On that count I agree with you and Berry 100%...I think that's why I like the movie Predator so much, give em a taste of their own medicine.

on Friday, July 21st, Brian said

There was no excuse for the dog owners in this town to have treated the black wolf like a domesticated pet. Although Romeo had become habituated to human interaction out at the glacier, it was always a wild animal - one that had not lost its defensive instincts. By the way, what does it say about those people who had encroached upon the black wolf that they had actually named it?

The dog that was supposedly killed by the black wolf was a beagle. It's sad that the dog had to die because of his owner's recklessness. When this story first surfaced, there was a call by some in the community to have the wolf killed. It's important to remember that the animals were here first and to respect their territory.

That being said, Romeo or not, the black wolf killed on Thane is a sad story. Although I find hunting for the sake of killing and hanging an animal's head on a wall despicable, it's a legal pastime. But everything about the black wolf's death just goes to show how low some people will stoop for mere entertainment.

I'll step down from my soapbox now...

on Friday, July 21st, berry bowman connell said

By the time I got home
and looked at it closely
I saw the other name
and, anyway, had calmed
down a bit.

Worse news I've heard
in the last seven years?
A bunch of politicians
still go to Africa
to big game hunt,
Powell, Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Kennedy, way
too many, and just thinking
about it right now makes
me sick t'my stomach!

Those who hunt to eat
I respect....
those who hunt t'sport
should be caught by the
biggest, meanest and
most viscious animal

For example,
the wolf killer,
may he be drunk and step on the foot of a sleeping polar bear!

on Friday, July 21st, Maren said

Hi Elise, I checked in with your blog for a little afternoon pick me up. Needless to say it didn't do that. It is sad, sad, sad that Romeo was shot. Makes no sense. Thank you though for including it in your blog. I don't read the Empire so I may not have known if you hadn't noted it. See ya, we should have dinner and/or a drink Sunday night.

on Friday, July 21st, Elise said

Hey Brian! What have you been up to? Could I interest you in driving again sometime?
(I agree with you 100% btw)
And Berry, big game hunting...yuck yuck yuck! How on earth can that be entertaining unless you're a souless bastard? (oh wait, who did you say went on those trips?)
Hey Maren...we should get together soon, want to come over for a glass of this great new wine I went in on a case of? :laugh:

on Friday, July 21st, Judy Vars said

God! that pisses me off!

on Sunday, July 23rd, berry bowman connell said

Saw it on a special prior to the last big
election, and wished I had written down ALL
the names of them what went regularly.

But, dang!
That's what I've meant fer years now, about
how seperated the guvmint
is from the people.

'Course, ya do realize, don't ya
some clown moron that does that gig
theirself is readin'
this right now, loadin' their guns
and plannin their next "outing"