Un lugar para los lobos en la naturaleza/A place for wolves in the wild

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of the bilingual environmental publication ECO-Lógica. Reprinted here with permission.

A place for wolves in the wild – Un lugar para los lobos

by Pamela Maciel, Sanctuary Co-Manager, Mexican Wolf Specialist, Wolf Haven International

 

Speaking in Spanish about Lobos and Nature

Breathtaking scenery

Breathtaking scenery/Photo credit: USFWS

by Christopher Montero,  Outreach Coordinator, Wolf Haven International

“Do you think there are wolves in these mountains?” the young man asked, pointing to the snow-covered peaks around Lake Wenatchee. “Well…for sure about 30 or 40 miles South”, I answered.

“So, no wolves here?” he kept pressing.

I thought about it for a second, then I said: “I bet there are dispersing wolves moving up and down these mountains, seeking a partner or a new pack. Who knows? Maybe there is a curious wolf sniffing us from up there, at this very moment,” I pointed with my chin to the distance.  “¡Qué chido!” (Cool!) he replied… and his eyes got wider.

Spending time with nature.

Spending time with nature/Photo credit: USFWS

Those are the moments I feel I have accomplished something good.

I had similar conversations with different audiences around the Snoqualmie National Forest. But what was especially significant about this interaction, was that it was entirely in Spanish.  It happened early this April at an event called Camp Biota.

Chris talks to students outside

Chris talks to students outside/Photo credit: USFWS

Camp Biota is a science camp geared towards migrant middle-schoolers. What makes this experience even more special, is that these Latino teens were selected because of their low scores in math and science.  The idea is to kindle their interest in natural sciences and inspire them to learn more.  During a whole week, the students participated in hands-on experiences on field data-collection, talks, experiments and outdoor activities. Camp Biota is the result of a collaboration between the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and the North Central Educational Service District and it involves thirteen organizations, including Wolf Haven International.

Chris and Pam in the classroom.

Chris and Pam in the classroom/Photo credit: USFWS

This was the second year I was invited to participate as an instructor at Camp Biota and this time we were excited to include Pamela Maciel, Wolf Haven’s Sanctuary Co-Manager and Mexican Wolf SSP Liaison.  A significant portion of the students at Camp Biota were girls, so it was empowering to see and hear a role-model like Pam, a migrant Latina who has a solid background in sciences and biology.

Ecology hike

Ecology hike/Photo credit: USFWS

Being part of Camp Biota was immensely satisfying for Pam and me.  We supported activities and nature hikes, facilitated field data collection, gave talks and even translated to Spanish in real-time.  Most of students spoke and understood English with no problem, but connecting with these teens in our mother tongue went beyond sharing our passion for wolves, animals or conservation…it was about making a difference while honoring our unique cultural identities.

Chris & Pam with Bioteca students.

Chris & Pam with Biota students/Photo credit: USFWS

Teaching conservation in different countries have shown me that cultural diversity has a lot in common with biological diversity: both generate richer and more beautiful interactions and that’s the base for more resilient communities and systems.

That’s why Pam and I love to teach in Spanish.

Native Plant Appreciation Week April 21-27, 2019

by Marinka Major, Wolf Haven International

 

Wolf Haven mounded prairie

Wolf Haven mounded prairie

Native plants find sanctuary at Wolf Haven where 37 acres of rolling, grassy Mima Mounds harbor dozens of rare prairie plants. Prairies have a diverse population of native plants that provide food to many animals, some that only live in prairie ecosystems such as the Mazama pocket gopher, Thomomys mazama and the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, Euphydryas editha taylori.

Controlled burn at Wolf Haven

Controlled burn at Wolf Haven

Native prairie plants are fire adapted and thrive in prairies that experience regular burns. Centuries ago, indigenous people thoughtfully burned prairies to ensure the survival of the many fire dependent plants.  At Wolf Haven, The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) manages and preforms prescribed burns on the prairie, keeping it healthy just as people did generations ago.

Camas

Camas

Many of the native plant species found in our South Sound prairies have great significance to people for their use as food or medicine. One of the showiest plants on the prairie is the common Camas, Camassia quamash a traditional food still being harvested and eaten today. The Camas produces an onion-like bulb that can be eaten after cooked and the periwinkle flowers cover prairies from late April to mid-May in a spectacular show.

Chocolate lily

The Chocolate Lily, Fritillaria affinis, also produces an edible bulb and has a unique blossom that resembles a dark brown tulip with bright yellow stamens and pistils that can be seen blooming April through May.

Early morning violet

Early morning violet

Another enchanting flower of the prairie is the early-blue Violet, Viola adunca. The short plant produces purple flowers that several butterfly and nectar eating species depend on.

Western serviceberry

Western serviceberry

Not only does the prairie provide edible bulbs and flowers but berries too! The Western serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia is a large shrub that blooms with spiky white flowers in the spring giving way to fat, dark purple berries at the end of summer.

Wolf Haven prairie sign

Interpretive signage guides you through our rare prairie.As we celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Week, let’s be sure to not only stop and smell the roses, but to look around and enjoy the wonders of our native plants!

Volunteer of the Quarter – Kieran Lynch

by Dan Monn, Animal Care, Gift Shop & Volunteer Assistant

Wolf Haven International is very lucky to have an amazing and diverse group of volunteers. Our newest Volunteer of the Quarter, Kieran, also happens to be one of our youngest, yet the first day I met him, he told me he would have started much sooner if he could.  He had quite a wait to meet the age requirement (17), given he wanted to be a volunteer at Wolf Haven ever since visiting in the 5th grade.  Knowing his time commitments as a Senior at Black Hills High School with other interests, we are honored that he commits as much time volunteering at Wolf Haven as he does.

Managing his time between school, marching band and working toward his pilot’s license Kieran still spends most Sundays helping us at the docent table.  He does a great job engaging and interacting with our guests as they wait for their scheduled sanctuary visits.  He has a warm and friendly personality that makes him very approachable for any who are interested in learning a little more during their time with us.

Beyond his interactions with the guests, Kieran also does a lot to help around the grounds.  He arrives a couple hours before each docent shift to do some extra work. Usually it is a lot of weeding and pulling blackberry, though some Sundays our Sanctuary Manager Erik Wilber, will steal him to help with a special project.  This led to one of Kieran’s favorite memories.  Recently working with Erik, Kieran got to help with the preparation for our newest wolf enclosure.  This “glamorous” job involved brush clearing in preparation for Southgate Fence Inc. to set posts, hauling away limbs and clearing brambles and blackberry. He was excited to contribute as we work to provide more space and flexibility for the care of the wolves – and WE are excited to have the help of such a dedicated volunteer.

A wolf called London – blog by Jenny Landor

The Gift of Meat

By Kurtis Rattay, animal care assistant,  Wolf Haven

During this year’s holiday season, the animals at Wolf Haven International have been gifted with three large-scale donations. They all came from organizations looking for a waste-free way to dispose of high-quality meat that, despite being in good condition, could not be repurposed for human consumption. These donations not only kept the products from going to the landfill but saved Wolf Haven thousands of dollars on feeding costs and provided ethical nutrition for the sanctuary’s residents.

A small portion of the Crowd-Cow meat donation stored in our freezer.

A small portion of the Crowd-Cow meat donation stored in our freezer.

The first donation came from Crowd Cow, a company that connects consumers with independent ranches. The donated meat was either unsold or did not meet the standards set by the company. According to one Crowd Cow employee, their East Coast counterpart regularly donates unsellable meat to animal sanctuaries, and the Seattle-based company contacted Wolf Haven with the same intention. Animal Care staff happily drove down to Forest Grove, OR, to pick up 1,500 pounds of craft beef and chicken.

Raw Cat Food donation of their venison, chicken, beef and lamb stock

Raw Cat Food donation of venison, chicken, beef and lamb.

Only a week later, Animal Care staff drove back to Oregon and picked up a huge donation from an out-of-business pet food company specializing in raw cat food. The company had tried for a while to liquidate its products and had contacted several animal centers. The Wild Cat Sanctuary kindly redirected them to us.  We drove back to Wolf Haven with 2,500 pounds of frozen venison, beef, chicken and turkey.

Kurtis, Erik and Pam with confiscated elk

Animal care staff Kurtis, Erik and Pam sorting confiscated elk.

 

The most recent donation came from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wendy Lowe, a law enforcement officer with WDFW, generously thought about benefiting the wolves when hundreds of pounds of elk meat needed to be disposed-off, following a now-settled poaching case.

Wolf Haven staff unloading the gift of meat

Wolf Haven staff unloading the gift of meat.

 

Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. Although a precise total amount of savings cannot be calculated, it is safe to put the number in the thousands of dollars. With substantial sanctuary projects on the horizon, these saved costs can then be allocated to improve sanctuary habitat and infrastructure, which in turn increases the quality of life for the animals.

Lakota enjoying his frozen loaf, made from the donated meat

Lakota enjoying his frozen loaf, made from the donated meat.

Wolf Haven is deeply grateful to have been chosen by these organizations—and the wolves and coyotes who call the sanctuary home seem to appreciate the gift as well!

 

Wolf howls at Wolf Haven blog post – Paula Wild

Ladyhawk howls

Ladyhawk howls

Author Paula Wild’s latest book, Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence, was published in October 2018 and became a bestseller in British Columbia.  She visited Wolf Haven International in 2016, visited the sanctuary and spent time with Wendy Spencer, our director of operations and Erik Wilber, sanctuary director. Here is a blog post about the howls that she heard while here.

Salmon Saturday

Lakota leaves his salmon to steal Sierra's fish.

Lakota leaves his salmon to steal Sierra’s fish.by Marisa Pushee, Animal Care Assistant, Wolf Haven International

Merlin carries his salmon

Merlin carries his salmon.

Here at Wolf Haven International, we feed a wide range of raw meats to our resident animals. Whenever possible, we source meat that would otherwise go to waste. One of the special treats we offer the wolves is salmon. In the photo above, Lakota abandons his salmon in favor of stealing one from his companion, Sierra. Luckily, she promptly reclaimed his abandoned fish.

Pike Place Fish Co. donates the salmon. The world famous seafood vendor at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington is known for its “flying fish presentations” where their fishmongers throw the fish in the air when they make a sale.  While the demonstration draws in the crowds at the market, the rough handling is too much for expensive salmon.

Bucket of salmon

Bucket of salmon.

This is where chum salmon enters as a stunt double for the wild king salmon. These stunt fish are thrown in the air several times before they are discarded. As these fish cannot be sold, Pike Place Fish Co. donates them to Wolf Haven International and other wildlife facilities. The salmon is deeply frozen for several days, and the extreme low temperatures of -5 degrees Fahrenheit kill any microorganisms that could pose a risk for the wolves, including Neorickettsia helminthoeca, the bacteria responsible for producing a fatal gastrointestinal infection in domestic dogs. We are only able to feed our animals the wild salmon because it has been deeply frozen in a commercial freezer.

Lonnie rolling on his salmon

Lonnie rolling on his salmon.

The wolves love the novelty of the fish. The salmon also provide high quality protein, fat, and minerals to the wolves. We are so happy to provide this exciting and nutritious food to the wolves and thank Pike Place Fish Co. for their support.

 

 

 

Lobos – A Wolf Family Returns To The Wild

Lobos – A Wolf Family Returns to the Wild

This children’s book about a family of Mexican gray wolves (lobos) is a follow-up to Wolf Haven: Sanctuary and the Future of Wolves in North America, (2016, Sasquatch Books). It is a hopeful conservation story about a family of endangered Mexican wolves who begin their lives at Wolf Haven, are transferred to Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in New Mexico, and ultimately released into the wild in Mexico.

The nonfiction story by Brenda Peterson is illustrated with color photography by Annie Marie Musselman, both of whom were the principals behind the earlier Wolf Haven book. With easy to read text and heart-warming pictures, young people will enjoy learning about wolves and the challenge of reintroducing an endangered species to the wild. Lobos is scheduled for release in mid-August 2018, and prerelease orders can be placed with Amazon, Sasquatch Books, Penguin Random House and other sellers. It will also be available at Wolf Haven’s physical gift shop and website following publication.

You can read reviews of both books here:

Lobos: A Wolf Family Returns to the Wild

Wolf Haven: Sanctuary and the Future of Wolves in North America

by Kim Young, Director of Communications
(This revised article was originally published in Summer 2018 issue of Wolf Tracks,
a Wolf Haven International members-only magazine)