Stores in and around Yellowstone National Park expect big sales of wolf books, wolf T-shirts, wolf jewelry and other wolf goods this summer.
Wolf items are likely to be the main merchandise people see when they enter The Nature Shop at Mammoth Hot Springs in the park.
“At the present time, I would say wolves are the No. 1 animal of interest in Yellowstone,” said Chip Rinehart, a vice president for Hamilton Stores, one of two park concessionaires.
Wildlife items always have sold well, “and the wolf has moved to the top of the heap,” said Peter White, purchasing director for the other concessionaire, TW Recreational Services. “Wolves have been good for the last couple years and probably will get better this year.”
Both companies say they want to stay out of the political debate over wolves but intend to take advantage of heightened public awareness of the animals. Wolves from Canada were moved to Yellowstone and central Idaho this year in an effort to re-establish wolf populations.
Most wolf products celebrate the animals, but goods with messages against the predators also are being marketed in some places. Items include hats and T-shirts with images of wolves and the cross hairs of a rifle scope.