Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, The wolves are back, big time.
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. - There were photographers taking pictures of photographers, and another group of photographers taking pictures of them, when wolves came back to Yellowstone National Park.
Canadian Broadcasting Company reporter Kelly Crowe called the frenzy inside the park's northern border "typically American. I don't think we'd have this kind of circus atmosphere, but Canadians are a little more low-key."
"I've never worked on a story that has given me so much pleasure," said Ed Vulliamy, a Washington, D.C.-based reporter for the London Observer. "Being here is my reward for spending two and a half years in Bosnia."
Vulliamy said Londoners are keeping a keen eye on Yellowstone because what's unfolding here is a story relevant to humans around the globe.
"It's a wonderfully symbolic story about people coming to their senses," he said. "Hopefully, America will be able to show the rest of the world how to do it once again."
Chicago resident Steve Holz was in the park on vacation. He said he hadn't followed the story too closely from the Midwest, but once inside the park he was quick to take a side.
"I can see why people are concerned, but the thing that I don't understand is that it all seems reversible," he said. "So why not give it a try and see if it works?"
Gary Johnson, a TW Service employee who drives a snowcoach in Yellowstone, said park visitors were confused by all the commotion.
"There's people coming up to me all the time wanting to know what all the hoopla is about," he said. "This is bigger than O.J. Simpson, as far as I'm concerned."
Most of the scores of reporters and photographers on the scene never even got a glimpse of the wolves. Only a handful of designated "pool'" reporters and photographers saw the animals as they were placed in the one-acre pens in the Lamar Valley. The rest were forced to get their stories from videotape of the event.
Park spokewoman Cheryl Matthews said that in recent weeks her office has been inundated with calls from reporters around the world who want to know more about the wolf story. Her press release list has grown to about 150 news organizations, she said, and now that the wolves are here, she doesn't expect the intense interest to wane.