Erich Klinghammer, born in Germany in 1930, immigrated to the United States in 1951. After earning U. S. citizenship through military service, he enrolled at the University of Chicago, received his AB in 1958 and began graduate work under Eckhard Hess studying imprinting in ring doves. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1962, he lectured on ethology and animal psychology at the University. He was appointed to the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, and in 1972 established the Wolf Park, a research and education facility in Battle Ground, Indiana. He died in 2011 at the age of 81.
Klinghammer's Ph.D. student, Randall Eaton, studied wildlife in Africa, including cheetahs. Klinghammer played a key role in the work of Rolf Peterson, leader of the research on wolf-moose relationships on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. He also heavily influenced Douglas Smith, biologist with the Wolf Restoration Project in Yellowstone National Park.