Lobo, The King of Currumpaw
Artist-naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton began the greatest adventure of his life in October 1893 working as a hired wolf killer in New Mexico. Remarkably, three months later, he determined never to kill another wolf.
The tale of those three months and how Seton changed from wolf killer to wolf protector became one of the most important wildlife stories ever written. Lobo, The King of Currumpaw catapulted Seton to worldwide fame, introduced generations of children (and adults) to the natural history of these magnificent predators, and established him as a leader in wildlife studies.
The Academy for the Love of Learning honors the 124th anniversary of this magnificent saga with an exhibition and publication featuring the work for more than 50 contemporary artists. Each of the artists has illustrated one part of the story with his or her own interpretation. The original art will be on display in the Seton Gallery and, in addition, will be published in the form of a graphic novel and made available on the day of the opening.
The opening reception for the exhibition will take place during the Academy’s annual Seton birthday celebration on Sunday August 12th from 2:00—4:00pm. The event will conclude with the annual Champaign Toast to Seton and Lobo.
Seton told the Lobo story many times to audiences held in rapt attention. He and his listeners shed more than a few tears for this realistic, tragic, and ultimately redemptive story about predators and their hunter. It is also an inspiring one, for the life—and death—of the gray wolf Lobo was not in vain. From it came Seton’s (still) radical pronouncement in his text Wild Animals I Have Known (1898):
“Since the animals are creatures with wants and feelings differing in degree only from our own, they surely have their rights.”
Seton also wrote this about wolves in Lives of Game Animals (1925):
“I (have) offered evidence of the courage the chivalry, the strength, the playfulness, the love loyalty, the fidelity, the friendliness, the kindliness, the heroism, the goodness of the wolf—completing my attempt to set before you the faithful and fearless portrait of a creature so long maligned; to piece together the little scraps of truth I have found in countless hunter-tales, like gold raked out of garbage bins; to make you know the wild one’s true character and his way of life as it really is.
Now, with all the evidence before me and much more of the same available, and with the story of Lobo in mind (for it is true in the main), can any one wonder that I love the Gray-wolf and credit him with true nobility of character—with the attributes of a splendid animal hero?”
As a result of his encounter with Lobo, Seton never trapped or hunted wolves again and soon thereafter gave up hunting altogether. He became a founder of the wildlife conservation movement, a founder of the world-wide Scouting movement (with an emphasis on nature and conservation), and along with Muir and Roosevelt created what would become the environmental movement.
Because of Lobo, Seton went on to become one of the founders of wildlife conservation and an important ancestor to today’s environmental movement. If he were still with us, Seton (a radical environmentalist) would do everything possible to save the Mexican Gray Wolf. The message of the Lobo story is timeless.
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3031 (Wild Animals I Have Known)
LocationAcademy Campus in Seton Village
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