Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

a wolf 2

Before we left Colorado, we visited the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  This center was started several years ago by one woman, Darlene Kobobel, with a hybrid wolf/dog pup named Chinook  and a desire to save these beautiful animals.  Over the years she saved more wolves from being put to death and in 2007 moved into the current facility where they house wolves and foxes and educating over 40,000 people a year on conservation and preservation of these endangered animals. 

To get a chance to see a wolf up close and personal, I was all in.  The facitlity is very nice and they have a large population of wolves in a forest like setting.  To tour, you must make reservations in advance.  There were two types of tours, a general tour which we went on, and a more expensive private tour where you actually interact with the wolf in a pen.  Now at first I was very jealous that we didn’t book that tour.  Later I was glad we didn’t.

First let me say, this is a wonderful center.  The good that is done here, educating people, especially children on the facts about wolves and how humans, specifically ranchers on public lands, are threatening their very existence is invaluable.  The wolves are beautiful and well looked after and well loved.  We were educated on fur farms, kill farms and all kinds of other abuse these animals suffer at the hands of humans.  All good and needed.  The tour was great, as we saw the animals in their pens, and most would actually come up to the fence.  But walking around, looking at the animals, Dan and I and the kids, looked at each other and knew something just wasn’t right.  Something was off.  I think when our guide said for about the third or fourth time about going into the wolves pens to feed them and how they would come close to her and then she showed us the pair of Mexican Wolves who had just come in from a zoo in California and no one could go into the pen to feed them, it dawned on us.  Their wolves were domesticated.  They had done such a great job of  rescuing and caring for these wolves, they had domesticated them, taken the “wild” out if you will.  An essentially what is a domesticated wolf?  A dog.

Ok, why do I say this?  The pair of Mexican Wolves came from the California Zoo with very strict instructions: no one in the pen and a very high fence around their pen.  Looking at them you could still see their  wildness, feel their spirit, see the light in their eyes.  The other wolves had lost that look.  They were healthy but they weren’t happy.  They are fed, they never hunt.  They are fed by someone walking into their pens and leaving food for them.  I remember when we were talking to the tiger guy at Ocean World in Dominican Republic.  The tigers were fed, but every so often they turned it into a “hunt”.  He said they needed that to keep their wildness.   If  you haven’t seen animals in the wild you may not understand what I am saying .  After seeing so much wildlife on our trips, seeing their wild spirit, seeing the look in that Elk’s eyes at the Grand Canyon,  their wild spirit really shows through.  And isn’t that why we love them?  Isn’t that what we need to protect?  Isn’t that important to keep alive in our own lives?

I am not trying to dismiss what the Wolf and Wildlife Center has accomplished.  This is a wonderful place and it is great what has been done here: please visit, send donations, support keeping these animals from being euthanized.  What I am saying is that wolves don’t belong in a place like this.  They belong in our National Parks, in our mountains, on our public lands.  We should strongly support and have our congressmen and women strongly support the reintroduction of the wolves back into the wild where they belong.  We need to keep their spirit alive in our hearts, not in a pen.

 

a mexican wolf  Mexican Grey Wolf

 

a wolf

 

a wolf 3

 

a Fox rescued from a fur farm  Fox rescued from a fur farm

Royal Gorge Colorado

R suspension bridge  The Royal Gorge was still as spectacular as Dan and I remember it as kids.  The suspension bridge, over 1000 feet high above the Arkansas River was still as scary.  We walked across the bride, took the cable car back, rode the tram to the bottom, saw the mountain goats, elk and white buffalo and rode the Merry Go Round.

 

r bridge 1  Looking at the Suspension Bridge.  Yes you can drive across it.

 

r bridge 13

 

r bridge

 

r cable car  The Cable Car. 

 

r royal gorge 17

 

r royal gorge 20  The tram to the bottom

 

r white buffalo 2  White Buffalo

 

r white buffalo

 

r royal gorge 21

 

r royal gorge 31  “Awesome” waiting for us.

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