Of (captive) wolves and men
"Possessing the Wild" illustrated two truths: First, the birth of any wolf into captivity is a tragedy (HCN, 11/14/11). Despite their close genetic relationship to dogs, wolves are not suited to living with people. Second, there is no universal captive wolf or wolf-dog experience. The vast majority of animals do not live in the facilities Ceiridwen Terrill visited, but in people's yards and houses. A few dedicated owners provide lifelong homes for them, but many end up euthanized.
Ms. Terrill ignores one important point: Dogs and wolves are so closely related that scientists cannot prove in a court of law the genetic difference between the two. Although it is not legal to possess a wolf without a federal license, it is impossible to regulate something you cannot identify. This has allowed many businesses to sidestep regulations. This is not a legal "loophole"-- it is a fact. Education is the only answer to this problem.
I have been a volunteer for Mission:Wolf for over 12 years. Meeting an ambassador wolf from Mission:Wolf caused me to relocate 2,000 miles and give what I can in time, expertise and money to an organization completely dedicated to wolves and to educating the public. Ms. Terrill seems to discredit some facilities as too commercial or not scientific enough. We need each type of facility to reach out to the different types of people.
Part of the "mission" behind Mission:Wolf has always been to put itself out of business by educating the public and eliminating the need for captive wolf facilities. We are not there yet, but we are still optimistic.
Stacey Sonnenshein, DVM
Albuquerque, New Mexico