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Denise speaks up for wolves; SCHOOL VISITS HELP CHANGE PERCEPTIONS.

Byline: SAMANTHA NANDA

A COVENTRY woman has been working with children and wolves in Bulgaria to try to give the animals a better reputation.

Mum-of-two Denise Taylor, 42, visited remote villages in the country where hunting wolves is a way of life. The practice goes back centuries but it is rapidly reducing the natural population of the animals.

Ms Taylor, who is studying for her PhD and runs her own cleaning company, said her first trip to Bulgaria was fantastic and she couldn't wait to go back.

Ms Taylor, director of the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, said: "It is like stepping back in time when you visit some of the villages.

"We took a one-year-old wolf called Vucho into two schools in the Pirin mountains to show children what the animals are really like as part of an education programme.

"A lot of their fathers are hunters and they make money by killing wolves so the negative image of these animals is encouraged. Mostly their size and aggressive nature is exaggerated and perpetuated by myths and legends including stories like Little Red Riding Hood.

"It was wonderful to see the kids happy and smiling when they met Vucho. Hopefully through this re-education the wolf population can be built up again."

Ms Taylor, who also edits Wolf Print magazine and is director of Education for Conservation, also spent a day of her week-long visit tracking wolves in the wild.

As part of the education programme, 9,000 children have been given activity books containing information about wolves.

Ms Taylor, said: "There is a large bounty on wolves which is a big incentive for hunters and they are also blamed for the decline of other wildlife.

"This is why at the beginning of the hunting season there seems to be a big campaign against them in Bulgaria. This is what needs to be tackled."

Anyone interested can visit www.education4conservation.org

CAPTION(S):

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: Denise Taylor introduces schoolchildren in Bulgaria to a young wolf
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 16, 2004
Words:333
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