Captivity, clarified

 

We would like to provide a more thorough insight into our facility, the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, than was presented in "Possessing the Wild" (HCN, 11/14/11). The author's description of our tour guides "tossing treats into wolves' enclosures to hear their jaws snap shut" was a misinterpretation. We do not put our animals on display for amusement. We give the wolves frozen beef treats, not biscuits, to entice them to the fence line so that visitors can take in the wolves' beauty. If a wolf happens to catch a treat and guests hear its jaws snap, it reinforces that these animals are not domestic pets.

Our animals live, run and play in beautiful natural habitats ranging from a half-acre to an acre in size for two animals. Our sanctuary is located on a 35-acre lot in Divide, Colo. Additionally, we purchased 35 acres to the west to buffer and prevent future building. The animals are surrounded by aspen and pine trees, rock formations and soil that they can dig in freely. We provide pen rotations, game hides, scents such as sage and game urine, and road kill to stimulate their natural behavior and mental arousal. We feed small meals of raw meat and supplements to fill nutritional gaps throughout the week, and the animals fast twice a week to simulate the natural diet of a wild wolf.

We are not a breeding facility by choice. However, we support breeding for release and education. The public needs more information to understand wolves, wildlife and conservation; we provide it through educational tours.

Every facility that houses animals will do things differently. At Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, we ask ourselves every day, "If I were a captive animal, would I want to live the rest of my life here?" We strive to provide exceptional environments and enrichment for our animals, and to encourage the public to be a voice for our rapidly disappearing wildlife and wild places.

Darlene Kobobel, president
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Divide, Colorado