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Wolves and Coyotes and Foxes, Oh My!

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center: Education, Conservation + Preservation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get up close and personal with wolves?

You can.

Meet Na’vi, a 13-year-old black timber wolf named after the tribe in the movie Avatar. Nicknamed “Mr. Hollywood,” he comes from a famous bloodline – his uncle was the model for a computer-generated wolf star in the second “Twilight” movie.

Or a pair of seven-year-old artic wolf brothers, Raksha and Isha. Or Amarok, a golden-eyed boy who was found roaming the streets of Colombia.

Nineteen wolves, all with their own stories, living out their lives on a quiet, wooded acreage in Divide.

Thirty Years of Sanctuary

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center got its start in 1993 when founder Darlene Kobobel rescued a wolf-dog named Chinook.

Today, the Center is one of a handful of sanctuaries in the United States certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a designation that goes beyond education, into application.

For instance, CWWC participates in the Species Survival Program by providing a home to Mexican grey wolves and swift foxes. “Those animals are very hands-off,” said Erika Moore, CWWC’s assistant director and animal care supervisor, explaining that they may be released back into the wild someday.

Most of the other animals – including wolves, coyotes, foxes and wild dogs – were raised by humans as pups. Part of the center’s mission is to educate people about the difference between wild and domestic animals. To some people, the idea of having a pet wolf or a wolf-dog is "cool,” Moore said. 

“We encourage people to know what they’re getting into. … They’re escape artists. They’re highly destructive. If you don’t give them something to do, they’ll find something,” Moore said, adding that they don’t typically do well in houses and make terrible guard animals.

These human-raised animals likely wouldn’t survive in the wild, if released, so they get a second life at CWWC, where they receive lots of socialization, mental stimulation and training.

Some walk on leash to the so-called “day spa” – three acres of land with a pond and waterfall. For others, employees open up “hallways” between the roughly two-acre enclosures to give them additional territory to explore. Wolves mate for life and most here share an enclosure with one partner until one of them passes. The Center sometimes tries pairing the remaining wolf with another partner, but they leave it up to the animals to decide whether it’s a match.

“Some enjoy the single life,” Moore said.

Wildlife Tours + More

CWWC offers various tours of the facility, including a one-hour guided walking tour following a circular, football-field length path through the center of the property. For those seeking a more close-up visit, there are small group meet-and-greet encounters, full-moon tours, private VIP interactive encounters and more.

Advance reservations are highly recommended/required. Moore suggests visiting during the cooler months, when it’s less busy and the animals are more active.

There’s also a well-equipped visitor center with gifts, information, snacks, and an upstairs sitting area with a fireplace and huge windows overlooking the property. It houses smaller rescue animals, too.

“Our founder will rescue pretty much anything that needs a home that we have space for,” Moore said.

Website: https://www.wolfeducation.org/
Facebook + Instagram: @CoWolfCenter

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