Alma Mater

Jim Robbins in The New York Times has this story Walking on the Wild Side of a Montana University, my alma mater. Things appear to have changed a little. The student body has tripled and the town has apparently nearly doubled in population. Civilization hasn't completely triumphed here though:

This year up-and-coming biologists from Argentina, Bhutan, Israel, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland and Taiwan have come here to study and be close to wildlife. The main draw is that, unlike other leading wildlife programs at places like Yale and Berkeley, the elk and grizzlies and wolves are right outside the door.

In turn the students bring a sprinkling of international spice to this small city where the sight of wolves taking down a deer or the yipping of coyotes is not uncommon, but foreigners walking the street are novelties. About a third of the 55 graduate students are from abroad.

Hmmm? I'm a native Montanan, and I spent a bit more than four years in Missoula, but I can't recall ever having seen wolves take down a deer there - lumberjacks taking down a football player was not so rare, though. Of course I was a physics major. Maybe the wolves take down the deer at some of the fraternity parties.

I should ask my brother. He's a lawyer, politician, and former forester, as well as a double U of M grad - maybe he's seen wolves taking down a deer in Missoula.


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