Nature writer Nick Jans first spotted the large tracks of a wolf while cross-country skiing near his home in Juneau, Alaska, in December 2003. Two days later, while relaxing in his hot tub, he caught a glimpse of the animal itself. Nick raced out to see him, and soon he and his wife, Sherrie, became infatuated with the beautiful black wolf.
So did many others. The wolf was exceptionally friendly, appearing frequently and frolicking with dogs strolling with their owners in the shadow of the Mendenhall Glacier.
The Jans were so infatuated that they cancelled a Christmas vacation on a Mexican beach, preferring to stay to see this newcomer. One day Sherrie named him Romeo, and the name stuck. A Wolf Called Romeo is Jans' love letter to this wild creature who touched their lives.
Romeo wasn't part of a pack, and some wondered if he was mourning the loss of a wolf killed by a taxi earlier that year. For nearly six years, Romeo made frequent appearances on the outskirts of Juneau, disappearing each summer to hunt in the mountains.
As Jans explains, "During the black wolf's time among us, he brought wonder to thousands, filled a landscape to overflowing, taught many to see the world and his species with fresh eyes."
Jans is no stranger to human interaction with wild animals, having written The Grizzly Maze about a man named Timothy Treadwell, who lived―and died―among the grizzlies. And while many in Juneau cherished Romeo's presence, some did not. Jans rightly feared that some sort of clash, and even potential tragedy, might ultimately occur―but I will spare readers the spoiler of revealing what eventually transpired.
A Wolf Called Romeo is a thoughtful, highly detailed account of one community's poignant encounter with a truly magnificent creature