The Wolf at the Door

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It is not often that you see wildness erupting into a man’s life, but it happened in front of me. Sotiris Stamoulis, a shepherd who keeps his 300 breeding goats in the beautiful blond wood pasture of Mount Gerania outside Corinth in central Greece, was only 18 inches away from my face but shouting his distress and rage, a gale of frustration and worry blowing out of him.

Below the trees were the distant, wind-stirred waters of the Gulf of Corinth; beyond them the mountains of the Peloponnese. Warm resin and wild oregano drifted past on the wind. Even in the daytime, nightingales were above us singing broken snatches of their song. If you didn’t know otherwise, you might have thought this another Arcadia. But for the men who live and work here, it isn’t. This is one of Europe’s wolf frontiers – the Mount Gerania pack are the southernmost wolves in Europe. Stamoulis is point-man for a way of life under existential threat and for all his strong, straddled presence, anxiety rippled through every gesture he made.

“In the beginning four years ago, I was starting to lose some animals but I didn’t know why. I’d had trouble with dogs before, usually biting the goats on the legs. But this was different: whatever it was, they were going for the throats. There was no memory of wolves here. My father, my grandfather, both had been shepherds here but none had known them. Not even 200 years ago were there any wolves here.”<<<Read the Rest>>>