||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
|Residence||Indiana, United States|
|Fields||Wolf biology, Animal Behaviour|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
|Known for||Wolf behaviour research|
Erich Klinghammer (February 28, 1930 – October 6, 2011) was an ethologist best known for his contributions to this field in regard to the behavior of canids and for being the founder and first director of Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, U.S. A. He was born in Kassel, Germany and immigrated to the USA in 1951. There he became a naturalized citizen in 1954, and served in the U. S. Army in Military Intelligence 1953 – 1955. He also and met and married his first wife, Zsuzsa (Suzanne) C. Klinghammer after immigrating. They have one daughter, Kirsten M. Klinghammer. In 1997 they divorced. In 2000 Dr. Klinghammer married his second wife, Margaret Gainer Marsico.
Education: Dr. Klinghammer received his early education, through high school, in Germany. He spoke of one teacher in particular, who inculcated in his students a deep love of biology through natural history studies. Dr. Klinghammer’s secondary education was interrupted by World War II. After immigrating to the United States and serving in the U. S. Army he obtained an A. B. degree and a Ph.D from the University of Chicago, thanks to the G. I. Bill.
When he was close to completing his undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, Erich took a course from Dr. Eckhard Hess, and, in his words, when he listened to Dr. Hess, he felt a “holy shiver.” Suddenly he understood that he wanted to work in the field of ethology. After class he approached Dr. Hess and told him, “I want to do what you do.” Dr. Hess invited Erich to his office and drew out his background and what he wanted to do with his life. Erich subsequently became one of Dr. Hess’s graduate students, earning his Ph.D. doing research on imprinting and ontological development of mourning doves. While completing his doctoral dissertation, Erich suffered bouts of intermittent recurring fever and weakness. He was so ill for a while that Zsuzsa Klinghammer had to take care of his research doves and collect some of the data for his Ph.D. Eventually he was diagnosed with an allergy to his birds.
In 1968 the Klinghammers moved to a farm just outside Battle Ground, Indiana, a short distance from Purdue University in West Lafayette. At Purdue Dr. Klinghammer taught ethology and psychology until his retirement in 1995.
Unable to keep enough birds with which to do research, Dr. Klinghammer switched to wolves. This sounds like an unusual taxonomic leap, but it was a return to some of his earlier interests. When he first immigrated to America, he happened to catch a fleeting glimpse of a wild wolf, and he had become concerned with America preserving its remaining wilderness, rather than developing into a “cultivated garden,” a phrase he repeatedly used to describe Europe. In addition to his burgeoning passion for conservation, during his time at the University of Chicago, he met Dr. Benson Ginsberg and Susie, one of Dr. Ginsberg’s socialized wolves. Susie impressed Dr. Klinghammer as being very different from dogs he was familiar with, including the German Shepherds he raised. Though circumstances had initially put him into a course of study and research resulting in his becoming a “bird man,” once he was unable to continue research with doves, he intertwined some of his childhood interests with his adult concerns for the environment, and became a “wolf man.”
Dr. Klinghammer and Zsuzsa decided to build a wildlife park specializing in species native to North America. Originally this park was called the North American Wildlife Park Foundation, but locally and on signage, it was called Wolf Park. Its name was formally changed to Wolf Park, on February 16, 2006. The Klinghammers envisioned the park as a place where animals would live in habitats natural enough for the animals to display all or most of their behavioral repertoires. The park would be open to the public and would also be a place where researchers, both Dr. Klinghammer’s own students, and visiting researchers, could study the animals. The animals would serve as both “ambassadors” for their species to the visiting public and as the subjects for non-invasive behavioral research. Since Dr. Klinghammer counted Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Konrad Lorenz, as a friend and mentor, it was practically a foregone conclusion that the animals would be hand reared and socialized to humans as well as to their own species. Lorenz hand-reared many of his animals, demonstrating that this was a way to see more of their natural behavior, as they treated familiar humans as part of their social group. Dr. Klinghammer advocated socializing animals that were going to live their lives in captivity to humans as well as to their own species, based on the improved quality of life animals with this dual socialization would have: lower levels of stress, better research data, increased ease of medical care and broader possibilities for environmental enrichment.
Dr. George and Mary Rabb, of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, were friends of Dr. Klinghammer’s and donated two five month old wolf pups, Koko and Cassie, to Dr. Klinghammer’s project in 1972. The park was begun on the Klinghammer’s farm located outside of Battle Ground. Eventually Erich and Zsuzsa Klinghammer donated the farm, to Wolf Park, a step in growing beyond what started as literally a “mom and pop” back yard project to an internationally known institution. Over the years the park decided that its main emphasis would be wolves, but also displays coyotes, foxes, and North American plains bison.
Even after his retirement as Wolf Park’s first director, Dr. Klinghammer took an active interest in how Wolf Park was run. As his health permitted he held scheduled chats with the public and participants in seminars and programs on behavior held at Wolf Park. He continued to live at Wolf Park, and saw ground broken at the Park in September 2011 for a new building, the Wright Center, (donated by Gladys and Al G. Wright of West Lafayette IN, and a private foundation in the Greater Lafayette Area), devoted to public lectures and seminars.
After his death his family and friends continued to hear from people he had influenced and encouraged. As part of his outlook on life Erich always had a soft spot for the underdog. When the Allies liberated Europe after WWII, Erich eventually wound up working for the Americans. It was years before he could emigrate to the U.S. and in the meantime, he had his first experience of the American IQ test. German kids tested with it did not do very well because the test assumed a familiarity with American culture that the German kids did not have. For the rest of his life, Erich cast a skeptical eye on IQ tests, grade point averages, and other standardized tests meant to predict the performance quality of people in the real world. He was always a believer in the exception to the rule, that appearances can deceive, and that the long shot can quite possibly come from behind and win the race. To Erich, a person’s willingness to work and to immerse himself in observing animals was more important that a transcript full of A’s. Perhaps because of Dr. Hess’ willingness to listen to Erich’s desire to do what Dr. Hess did, and his help and mentoring, Erich himself mentored many, both formally and informally. Over the years many interns, practicum students and other formal and informal varieties of student found Dr. Klinghammer willing to help them follow their dreams.
Associate Professor - Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 1968 - 1993.
Assistant Professor of Bio-Psychology, The University of Chicago, 1965-1968.
Instructor - Dept. of Psychology, The University of Chicago, 1963-1968.
Teaching Assistant in Ethology - Dept. of Psychology, The University of Chicago, 1961.
Research Assistant - Dept. of Psychology. The University of Chicago, 1958-1962.
Member - Purdue Center of Applied Ethology and Human-Animal Interactions, 1982 to 1993.
Sabbatical - Faculty Open Fellowship 1976-1977, from Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Member - Purdue University Microbiology Program, Psychology - Biology, 1975.
Visiting Professor of Ethology - The University of Chicago, Spring, 1969.
Honorary Member to Mortar Board, College Senior Honor Society, Class of 1992-1993, The Barbara Cook Chapter, Purdue University.
Director - NSF Undergraduate Research Participation Program in Psychology. The University of Chicago, 1967.
Board of Directors and Executive Committee - Wild Canid Survival and Research Center (now the Endangered Wolf Center), Tyson Woods, St. Louis, MO. 1971-1976.
Advisory Board - Livestock Guarding Dog Association, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. 1990.
Consultant - Animal Behavior.
Editorial Board - Carnivore.
Consulting Editor - Zoo Biology.
Consultant - Livestock Guarding Dog Association. 1990. Scientific Advisor - Gessellschaft zum der Wolfe (Society for the Protection of the Wolf), Germany - 1991, 1992.
Scientific Advisor - Wolf Society of Great Britain - 1992. Reviewer - Science, J. of Animal Learning and Behavior, J. of Applied Social Psychology, J. of Mammalogy, J. of Comparative Psychology, Zeitschrift f. Tierpsychologie, NSF Psycho-Biology Program. National Geographic Society. The Quarterly Review of Biology. ETHOLOGY, Int. Journal of Ethology
Consulting Editor - Behavior Series, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York. 1969-1975.
President - North American Wildlife Park Foundation, Inc. and Director of Wolf Park, Battle Ground, IN.
Director - Animal Behavior Advisory Service.
Appointed Member - Technical Advisory Group, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, July 1, 1992-1993.
Certificate received at THE 1986 HUMANE AWARDS presentation from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for work on behalf of wolves. 5. May 1986. New York City, NY.
The Erich Klinghammer Award is given in his memory for outstanding contributions in the fields of wolf behavior, ecology, and conservation.
Library Committee - 1968, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978.
Laboratory Animal Care - 1971, 1972, 1981, 1986-1993.
Organized an information interdisciplinary COMMITTEE ON THE BIOLOGY OF BEHAVIOR AND ECOLOGY consisting of faculty members in Psychology, Forestry and Conservation, Veterinary Science, Animal Science and Anthropology.
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee - 1974-1976, 1978, 1979.
COURSES TAUGHT AT PURDUE:
Each Fall - Psychology 494/Biology 493: INTRODUCTION TO ETHOLOGY, 3 cr. Psychology 392A: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, 3 cr. Course received new number and title: Psychology 388: COMPARISON OF HUMAN AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR as of 1986. Psychology 392E, 3 cr.: SEMINAR IN ETHOLOGY as of Fall, 1989.
Psychology 120: INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY, 3 cr., 1981, 1982, 1983.
Each Spring - Psychology/Biology 593: ETHOLOGY WORKSHIP, 4 cr. Psychology 392A: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, 3 cr. Course received a new number and title: Psychology 388: COMPARISON OF HUMAN AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR as of Fall 1986. Psychology 594B, 3 cr.: APPLIED ETHOLOGY.
- "Wolves Don't Make Good Pets". Times-Union. May 1, 1991. p. 3. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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