Field Notes

red wolf sculpture

Creating a Red Wolf Sculpture

Nature Inspiring a Red Wolf Sculpture and Conservation.

A red wolf sculpture was not on our minds when we visited the NC Zoo last spring. But after seeing their red wolves for the first time, we learned the only wild red wolves in the entire world live in our home state of North Carolina. And with less than 40 left in the wild and just over 200 in captivity, they are critically endangered and may soon become extinct (again) in the wild. For the whole story see our red wolf fact sheet. Wow, we wanted to help protect the red wolves so Dale came home to see if he could create a sculpture to bring awareness to the plight of these magnificent creatures.

red wolf sculpture

Rebecca Bose, Wolf Conservation Center

As he looked at his stone stash (and he has quite the pile of rocks), he came across a piece of Utah alabaster that screamed red wolves with red and greens in the stone. And inside the stone, he could visualize two red wolves, a mom and her pup.   Can you look at the raw stone and see 2 red wolves? Well, I couldn’t either but Dale saw them clearly.

A Bas-relief

Since the coloring in the stone is only in the first several inches of rock, Dale decided to carve a bas-relief which would be a new challenge. It turns out bas-reliefs can be much more difficult because you have to achieve the perception of depth without having much stone with which to work. After spending literally hundreds of hours studying photos and talking to red wolf experts, he is ready to get started. First, he sketches the mom and a pup. Next, he begins carving an outline just to get a feel for the stone. The pup has proven to be the most difficult in getting the head just right and then the shoulder.

The next stage includes fine-tuning both the mom and the pup and then sculpting the fur on each. After the sculpture is done, Dale will seal it with a clear sealant to bring out the color and luster of the stone. Right now, he puts water on the stone to bring out the colors and highlights which you see below.

Stay tuned for more photos of the red wolf sculpture in progress.

As Dale works on the sculpture, we will post additional photos.

We have already learned so much about red wolves. How they mate for life, are shy and reclusive and are apex predators helping keep our ecosystem in balance. We hope Dale’s red wolf sculpture will inspire all of us to protect our wildlife and make sure red wolves don’t become yet another extinct animal. See how you can help below.

And check back in to see how the sculpture develops. We can’t wait to see the finished bas-relief!

How Can You Help?

Learn all you can about red wolves. Read our Red Wolf Facts and share your knowledge.

Tell your politicians you support red wolves, organize a talk to a scout group or other youth group, or talk to your Rotary or Kiwanis club.

red wolf sculpture

Two red wolf pups sleeping. Photo Ryan Nordsven/USFWS

Write letters to the editor or articles for your local newspaper.

Check out Red Wolf Review which has some great resources including a checklist “How to Help Red Wolves”. Very handy.

Visit one of the 45 places which breed red wolves located throughout the US. You might be surprised to find one in your own backyard.

Follow wolf conservation organizations on social media such as the Red Wolf Coalition.

And of course, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see the latest updates on the red wolf sculpture & red wolf news.

Donate to a red wolf conservation organization. Some are listed below.

Defenders of Wildlife

International Wolf Center

Endangered Wolf Center

Be Passionate & Curious

Join us in working to save our red wolves. Together we can make a difference!

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