Nick Jans is a writer who put a face on one of the most maligned creatures in history. To quote Mr. Jans first meeting of a Wolf Called Romeo" "He might as well have been a unicorn, or a character straight out of a Disney nature film. I mean, a 120-pound wild wolf just shows up one day, and wants to play with our dogs, and is tolerant of people in general, and even friendly to some. He’s super-intelligent and interactive and social, and we get to know him as an individual. Yet the whole time he remains a wild wolf, hunting for his own food. He didn’t become habituated to people; he arrived that way, as if he’d fallen from the sky.
Though mostly raised in cities, Mr. Jans had always dreamed of living in a wilderness setting, and set out for Alaska in 1979. After an 800 mile canoe trip, he settled in a remote Eskimo village on the upper Kobuk River in northwest arctic Alaska, 200 miles off the road grid. He worked for a hunting guide, managed a trading post, and then became a schoolteacher to Inupiat Eskimo children in the local school. However, his first love was always the seemingly limitless, wild country that surrounded him, and the creatures that roamed it. In 20 years of living in the region, he traveled tens of thousands of wilderness miles by skiff, canoe, on foot, skis, and snowmobile, often alone. In 1986 he took a year off to study writing at University of Washington’s Graduate School of Creative Writing, and began a career as a professional nature photographer and writer who has written 11 books and hundreds of magazine articles over the years, and contributed to many anthologies. Nick Jans is long-time contributing editor to Alaska Magazine, and a member of USA Today’s board of editorial contributors. Mr. Jans currently live on a semi-remote homesite up the Haines Highway in Southeast Alaska with his wife, Sherrie, and his four dogs.
Nick Jans was born the son of a career diplomat and spent 12 years overseas—first Palermo, Sicily, then Vienna, Austria, and finally Thailand from 1962-67. His father was the American consul in Udorn Thani, a forward CIA and special operations base for missions from around the world. He attended high school in the Washington DC area and graduated in 1977 from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with a degree in English Literature
UPDATE: The Romeo exhibit was completed this January! It's a Smithsonsian-quality display, complete with interpretive panels, a bronze cast of his paw print, and a sound wand you can lift and hear his recorded howls.
At Wolfdog Radio, and to the communities, both Wolfdog and Wolf, A Wolf Called Romeo touched our hearts equally. In Mr. Jan's own words "The reason for writing this book is to bear witness to the life of this one remarkable wolf. As long as a single person reads, hears, or remembers his story, Romeo lives. Perhaps that’s what matters most of all."