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Arctic Wolf to Drop in at Nature Center

People don't often get to see wolves up close and in person, but that will change Sunday when Atka the wolf from the Wolf Conservation Center in New York visits the Darien Nature Center .

"They have a very informative slideshow that helps people understand the story of wolves: Where they are and how they've been driven away and the role they play in the ecosystem," said Lynn Hamlen, executive director of the nature center. "Then they bring out Atka, and they explain his story."

Atka is an 8-year-old Arctic gray wolf. He has lived at the Wolf Conservation Center his entire life and travels around the country to schools, museums and nature centers to explain the importance of wolves in nature.

Hamlen said Atka or other wolves from the Conservation Center visit the nature center every other year. The event always proves to be popular. "Atka is very used to crowds," she said. She said visitors would not be allowed to touch the wolf.

"We want people to appreciate the importance of these animals in the ecosystem. Out West, there's a war between farmers and wolves," Hamlen said. She said that when farmers drive wolves out of their land, it can lead to an increase in deer, which eat vegetation. This, in turn, can affect plants and other animals in the area.

"It's a very delicate balance. Every animal is important, and this is an opportunity to learn about one of them," Hamlen said.

The event will be at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased from the nature center by calling (203) 655-7459.

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