We currently have three wolves at our wildlife center. Kiowa, a gray wolf, Shadow, a black timber wolf, and Bella Koola, an arctic wolf.
We acquired our wolves from a zoo in Ohio and raised them from pups. Although they were born in captivity and hand raised, they are still considered wild. We use the wolves as educational animals, taking them to schools, churches, Boy Scout clubs and wildlife events. We try to educate the public by explaining that wolves are gentle creatures.
Wolves have a distinct, spine tingling howl that no other dog or coyote can mimic. They howl to attract the attention of their pack and to communicate with each other.
Wolves are very docile, gentle creatures. They are not the dangerous, crafty creatures that “little red riding hood” portrays! Records show that healthy wolves do not attack or hurt humans except in self defense. They do attack domestic animals or livestock, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped and poisoned because of this.
Gray wolves were hunted to near extinction. Red wolves became extinct in 1980, but scientists established a breeding program with a small number of captive red wolves and have reintroduced them to eastern North Carolina. Today, about 100 red wolves survive in the wild.
Wolves live and hunt in packs of six to 10, and can roam up to 12 miles a day. They prefer large meals of 20 pounds of meat at a single sitting, like a deer, elk or moose, but will eat birds, fish, snakes and even fruit.
Wolf packs have an alpha male and alpha female. They are the only two wolves of the pack that breed, but all adult wolves in the pack will help care for the young pups by bringing them food.
The average lifespan in the wild is six to eight years, 16 in captivity. They range from 50 pounds up to 200 pounds. When full grown they have 42 teeth that puncture, shred and crush the bones of their prey.
Wolves are at the top of the food chain, but occasionally are vulnerable to large cats and sometimes coyotes.
We are fortunate to have loyal volunteers such as Luke McCullough, Zack Varnadore, my daughter, Kristye Steed, and son-in-law, Anthony, as well as my daily caretakers to love and care for our wolves and other wildlife every day.
Quote of the Day: You don’t need a reason to help someone.