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Wild Talks: Hunt for the shadow wolf

Free, book tickets now.

8 Jun 2024 2:00 pm -3:30 pm

Kanaris Theatre, Manchester Museum, Oxford Road.

Free, book tickets now.

Hunt for the shadow wolf

With Derek Gow

Much more than any other native species, the ghosts of the wolves we slaughtered in the darkest times of our past still haunt the landscapes of Britain.

In Norse, Gaelic Welsh and English the place names that recall their former presence are everywhere. While some of these are positive, like Ullock in the Lakeland fells – the clearing where the wolf cubs play – most are of a neutral sort such as wolf ford or hill. However, the grimmest are widespread like the tall granite wolf stones on the high Yorkshire fells which mark, without doubt, the finales of hunts or the locations of the deep stone-lined wolf pits where they were captured for torture to death.

Because the wolves killed our valuable sheep, our ancestors hated them with a venom that proved so enduring that it was applied with a genocidal zeal by our ancestral colonists of other lands to other wolves, wolf-like creatures and the Indigenous People they termed as wolf-like. They exterminated them for opposing our ancestors’ selfish interests. In Western Europe, we nearly killed them all.

In Modern times, following their protection, wolves have returned into highly utilised landscapes, like Holland, Belgium and France, to playfully chase cyclists, predate on pet kangaroos and once again encounter their nemesis the sheep… Will we meet them again with swords, poison and pitch burning bright? Or, at the dawn of the twenty first century, are we prepared, with better understanding and informed education, to refurbish a new relationship with the wolf? 


Hunt for the shadow wolf is the first in our series of Wild Talks, chaired by Manchester Museum’s Curator of Entomology, Diana Arzuza. 


Free, book tickets now.

Derek Gow

Diana Arzuza

Derek Gow

Derek is a 59-year-old conservationist who has specialised in species reintroductions through the course of his career. From early works with common dormice, he has gone on to release around 40,000 water voles over a 25-year period to create many large, enduring populations. Derek has also been heavily involved with the restoration of beavers in Britain and quarantined and imported nearly 100 for projects over the years. He assisted with the feasibility study for the white stork reintroduction project at Knepp castle and helped obtain its initial birds from Poland. 


Diana Arzuza

Diana is the recently appointed Curator of Entomology at Manchester Museum and has a degree in Zoology from Colombia. She has worked on several conservation and environmental education projects in Colombia as well as three-year project repatriating and documenting museum records of Colombian birds from regional collections, Europe and North America. Diana also has extensive experience working with natural history collections in Ecuador, Peru and the UK. 

At Manchester Museum, she looks after 2.5 million insects in one of the largest museum collections in the UK. As well as curating responsibilities, she also supports teaching, for example, of collection and preservation methods for undergraduate courses, as well making the entomological collection accessible, especially for researchers, biological recorders, artists and students. 

Diana has supported constructing narratives around insect collections for exhibitions and art projects. She is currently working with an artist celebrating women in science and with a wider team on Wild.

Wild Talks

There is a clear and growing need for new education pathways to support learners’ aspirations at every stage of their lives. Through our offer of a series of public lectures we aim to provide access to a Manchester education throughout a learner’s lifetime. Wild Talks are a series of public lectures that bring some of the UKs foremost thinkers, writers, activists and influencers to Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, to our visitors, students, staff and community partners. 


Wild Talks format

  • Chaired by a member of the Wild exhibition team at Manchester Museum.
  • 45 minute talk with 15 minute Q&A, followed by 30 minutes meet and greet, and networking opportunity with free refreshments.
  • Talks will be filmed, and videos will be made available shortly afterwards on Manchester Museum and University of Manchester websites.


Wild Talks Programme.

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