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Statement of Karen McCall

Karen McCall, a wolf-handler and a co-founder of the Wolf Education and Research Center, has made a statement regarding the events in the death of the wolf Aipuyi.

Ms. McCall may have a personal ulterior motive in issuing this statement.


"On September 30, 1993, a captive female wolf I raised, named Aipuyi, the only female in the Sawtooth Pack at the time, was euthanized by the decision of Jim Dutcher. She had been instigating aggressive dominance fights with a younger male, Motomo, who would not submit to her. She was in perfect health. The male wolf had an injury to his foot. This injury was minimal and healed within a week. In the 2 1/2 years I spent raising and filming these wolves extremely more serious physical damage had been done to Makuyi by the other wolves. Because her story was integral to the film being produced the situation was tolerated and even documented on film."

"At the time Dutcher decided to put down the wolf he and I were the only ones at the camp. I tried to convince him not to do this. He would not listen. I drove out of the camp into Stanley to call Kristin Poole, executive director of the WERC at that time. I told her that we had to convince Jim not to do this, that it was not an acceptable decision. I returned to the camp still trying to convince Dutcher not to take action. I asked him to go into town to call Kris. He did, but returned committed to putting down Aipuyi. He had called the wolves vet, Randy Acker, to come up to the camp to give the shot."

"Randy arrived in the evening. He also tried to convince Jim not to put the wolf down. We discussed alternatives: moving her to the adjacent enclosure, sending her to Mission Wolf, Wolf Haven, releasing her in Canada, anti aggression drugs. All alternatives were turned down by Jim."

"At dusk Jim went into the enclosure to inject Aipuyi with a sedative. So trusting of this man, she backed her haunches into him, expecting a rub, only to get a hypodermic. Randy then came into the enclosure and injected her with the drug that put her down. Jim had Randy take Aipuyi out of the enclosure to his truck. Jim did not want the other wolves seeing him take Aipuyi out because they might blame him for the loss of their packmate. I went to the truck with Randy. I was crying. I clipped fur from Aipuyi's chest. Randy and I returned to the cook tent. Randy and I hugged one another. Jim showed absolutely no emotion."

"The following Monday a meeting of board and staff was called to discuss the situation. In attendance were as I remember: Dutcher, Doug Christensen, Kristin Poole, David Langhorst, possibly Taryn Smith, and me. Jim related the euthanization and then told us that we would all have to tell the public that Aipuyi had severely broken her leg in a dominance fight, that there was no choice but to euthanize her."

"This was a serious deception and we all knew it. This wolf had been adopted by thousands of people across the country and now she was dead by one person's decision after strong protest from the individuals responsible to the public for her welfare. The "story" of Aipuyi's death was related in the WERC winter 1994 newsletter."

"I carried this deception until September 1997 when I revealed the truth at a seminar in Jackson, WY on Ethics in Wildlife Documentary and Photography."

"I have deep regrets about not speaking the truth sooner. My fear of what Jim Dutcher might do to me kept me quiet. I no longer have that fear."

Best Regards,
Karen McCall

You can contact Ms. McCall to further investigate this yourself.

Dutcher Statement on the death of Aipuyi