Experience Olympia Names Thurston County’s Top 12 Things to Do. Wolf Haven International is a hands-off facility meaning there is no socialization between humans and the incredible wolves in their south Thurston County refuge. Founded on the idea that animals, like humans, deserve to be appreciated for who and what they are, the sanctuary assures they are treated …
By Dan Monn, Animal Care, Gift Shop and Volunteer Assistant
Wolf Haven International
Tashina is one of our homegrown volunteers; she was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon and raised not far from here, in Yelm, Washington. She has been a volunteer at Wolf Haven International for six years, but interested in wildlife conservation for much longer. Tashina is a recent graduate of Evergreen, and now has her eyes set on an advanced degree as she continues toward her goal of working in wildlife outreach and education.
Tashina began volunteering at Wolf Haven as a senior in high school. She wanted her senior project to be related to wildlife and she found us! She worked with Erik from our animal care team to come up with a project, and has been contributing as a volunteer ever since. Now Tashina guides visits, and does a lot of outreach work for Wolf Haven. She spent time here as an intern while studying at The Evergreen State College, and the work Tashina did then has helped shape the way we convey Wolf Haven’s values and mission to the public.
In fact, Tashina’s favorite part of volunteering is spending time with the public and sharing her passion for the individual animals and wildlife conservation. One of her favorite moments was getting to see Lorenzo, (now deceased) a Mexican gray wolf, get an elk leg. Animal care staff does not usually feed the wolves during public visits, plus elk legs are a rare treat. Another favorite moment occurred during a group howl as she was leading visitors through the sanctuary. To be present during a howl is a special moment for anyone, but it was especially so for a guest who was moved to tears. Sharing that moment is something Tashina says she’ll remember for a long time.
In the wild, wolves encounter enrichment items continually – new sights, new smells, new experiences. We do what we can to approximate the natural world for wolves in captivity by planting trees and shrubs in their enclosures, providing main meals 2-3 times per week (feast or famine), and giving them novel things to explore which stimulate their senses and keen intellect.