Howling With Wolves
Last April Fools Day I found myself with a group of about a dozen people in the Colorado hills, 30 miles due west of Colorado Springs, doing our best impression of a wolf howl.
Real wolves howled back.
Lots of wolves howled back. They, quite literally, surrounded us.
But, there was no reason for us to be afraid and no, this isn't a belated April Fools joke. That’s because we were at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.
The center is home to more than a dozen wolves, a handful of fox and a coyote or two. All of them are beautiful creatures and all of them have been rescued.
Next year, 2023, will mark the 30th anniversary of when the first seeds for the center were planted. It began when founder Darlene Kokobel rescued a wolf-dog named Chinook in 1993.
Kokobel heard Chinook was scheduled to be euthanized by the local animal shelter because he was half wolf. She soon learned there were other wolf-dogs out there, suffering similar fates. Of the 250,000 wolf-dogs born annually, 80 percent will die by their third birthday.
Kokobel wasn’t one to stand by idly and soon her Wolf Hybrid Rescue Center was born.
A decade later Kokobel wanted to do more. She knew she would never be able to adopt more than a tiny fraction of the wolf-dogs that needed saving.
So, the Wolf Hybrid Rescue Center changed its name to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center and its mission to one of education, not about wolf-dogs but about the importance of all wolves, coyotes and foxes in our ecosystem. By educating more people the center spreads the word in the hopes of stopping the mistreatment of these animals.
You can read the full history and about the center’s mission on its website.
Along the way the center has relocated twice and is now situated on a 35-acre piece of property near Divide, Colorado. It is certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the same organization that certifies the San Diego Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, among many others.
The center offers a wide range of tours and options for seeing the wolves and other creatures. Advanced reservations are required. I was only able to take part in the standard tour due to some time constraints but it was well worth it. I’m sure the other tours are even better.
If you're not planning a trip to Colorado anytime soon, certainly understandable, you have to check out the current pack on the center’s website. They have a photo of each along with a short bio.
Amarok is way cool. He came to the center from Columbia, South America. Wolves aren’t native to that part of the world so it’s believed he was purchased illegally, brought into the country and then escaped.
Of course, I have to admit some fondness for Raksha, a white wolf who looks a little like my old Bailey-dog who was half husky.
And Zoe, the silver fox, is so cute and, and, well, you get the idea. Go check it out.
**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address, alansheaven.com, or a link back to this page.