by Ceiridwen Terrill, High Country News, Nov 21, 2011
This excellent article, published in High Country News in 2011, provides an educational look at North America’s other wolf population.
Thanks to Tom Walker for bringing this to our attention.
“In five years of exploring the obscure world of captive wolves, I visited more than two dozen operations, driving on dusty back roads and interviewing biologists, geneticists and other experts. My quest was inspired by my own sad experience as the owner of a wolf-dog hybrid, because I realized that many of the issues with hybrids extend to captive wolves as well. Captive wolves don’t get a lot of attention, as the public tends to focus on the more than 60,000 wild wolves in North America. But the number of wolves and wolf-dog hybrids in captivity is much greater: about 1,500 pure wolves whose captivity is federally regulated, plus untold wolves kept by unlicensed individuals, and an estimated 300,000 wolf-dog hybrids.”
“People who keep or work with captive wolves are often earnestly trying to help the species. Motivated by a desire to ensure the long-term survival of wolves, they use science to educate the public about this elusive and intelligent creature — an icon of the wilderness, especially in the West. Many make enormous personal sacrifices, running their facilities with a lot of love and very little money. But not all captive-wolf owners have conservation foremost in mind. Some are motivated by commerce, or by a difficult-to-pin-down yearning to possess “wildness.” It raises uncomfortable questions: At what point does kindness to animals morph into exploitation? What are the appropriate boundaries between humans and wolves? And why do we insist on testing the limits of those boundaries”?
Read the full article at High Country News: