Wildlife Handling & Chemical Immobilization for Wildlife Professionals in MT cancelled

DUE TO THE COVID-19 health crisis, Wolf Haven will no longer host this course at our satellite sanctuary in Montana. Stay tuned for upcoming information about whether or not a similar course will be held in Tenino, WA in the fall.

Wolf Haven will offer this 3-day course at our McCleery Ranch in Bridger, Montana. Course dates are May 19-21 (with an optional additional free day of presentations on Monday, May 18). This class is intended for wildlife agency personnel and other wildlife professionals and is taught by Dr. Mark Johnson of Global Wildlife Resources.

Classroom lecture and hands-on labs focus on the needs of researchers and managers to understand the skills and equipment associated with wildlife capture, physical restraint, and chemical immobilization. The course also covers each aspect of animal handling such a radio-collaring, weighing, sample collection and patient monitoring.

Includes course notebook and labs each day. Participants  receive a Certificate of Training upon course completion. Contact Wendy Spencer for additional information or if you would like to register.

Student examining wolf during lab.

Student examining wolf during lab.

Course content includes:

  • Five-step preparation for field operations
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Professionalism
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Immobilizing drugs
  • Patient monitoring
  • Marking sampling
  • Veterinary emergencies
  • Euthanasia
  • Human safety
  • Ethical issues
  • Honoring each animal through equipment and techniques

About Global Wildlife Resources, Inc.
Global Wildlife Resources, Inc. (GWR) is a progressive organization dedicated to supporting wildlife professionals and bringing honor, care, and respect to those animals affected by research and management by:

  1. Promoting and improving animal welfare (in a non-prescriptive manner) in programs and activities relating to wildlife research and management.
  2. Teaching the highest quality courses in wildlife capture, chemical immobilization and handling.
  3. Providing professional preparation and field assistance with wildlife captures, transport, and disease investigations.


November World of Wolves – Compassionate Care

Combining lecture, lab and hands-on examination of critically endangered wolves, the training emphasis is on humane, respectful capture and treatment of wildlife. It is an incredible honor to meet and work with the attendees who come from all walks of life and around the world to attend this course.

September World of Wolves – Lunar eclipse

The million dollar question: how did the wolves react to the eclipse? Wolf Haven was open for sanctuary visits that day, and animal care staff reported that the wolves didn’t even bat an eye. Despite having 94% coverage at the sanctuary it was actually fairly light out, so they may not have even realized it was going on.

Wolf Haven Voted Best Wildlife Sanctuary – King 5 Northwest Escapes, May 11, 2017

Captive-born and displaced wolves find sanctuary at Wolf Haven International.

Tributes to those we lost in December

December is usually a time of celebration as we celebrate the varied end-of-year holidays and festivities that take place. This year, however, Wolf Haven experienced a string of losses in the sanctuary that made it a very bittersweet time for us. Occasionally, as in this case, several animals pass away in a short time frame. It may seem unusual, but when you have a fairly geriatric wolf population, as we do at Wolf Haven, these deaths are not out-of-the ordinary – but this doesn’t make them any less difficult to witness. In the wild, wolves typically live 4-6 years, whereas due to the safe, secure environment and medical attention that we are able to provide at Wolf Haven, many of our residents live into their teens. The four animals that we pay tribute to here passed away at the ages of 15-1/2, 12-1/2, and nearly 17, respectively.

Brothers AKI & HOPA



On December 11 and 12, we lost the brothers and littermates Hopa and Aki. The brothers had grown up together at a wolf facility in Washington State and were moved to Wolf Haven in 2014 after the facility decided to close its doors.

For most of their lives, the brothers lived apart. They had separate enclosures, separate female companions and separate lives. When they came to Wolf Haven, Aki and Hopa came as bachelors and each was initially paired with single females here at the sanctuary. Both ended up outliving their female companions and were once again living alone.

A few months ago, we moved Hopa into the enclosure next door to his brother Aki and though there was a fence between them, they seemed to enjoy each other’s company (we often saw them spending time at the communal fence they shared). Hopa passed away on December 11 due to suspected kidney failure, and his brother Aki died the next day from complications due to advancing age. They were 15 ½ years old.

Sweet Klondike



Klondike passed away from large, aggressive hemagiosarcoma (blood tumor) on December 14. He was a handsome wolfdog with a grizzled brown and gray coat, beautiful eyes, and one of the sweetest faces in the sanctuary.

Klondike spent most of his life before coming to Wolf Haven in squalor, tethered to an eight-foot drag chain at a roadside attraction in Alaska. He was finally rescued in 2011 when the site was investigated by the state and shut down. At Wolf Haven, he shared an enclosure with gray wolf Mehina for several years until her passing, and then lived with female wolf Shali. Klondike was known for his very mellow personality and could often be seen lying down and observing ravens flying overhead or wolves playing in surrounding enclosures.

Sometimes he suddenly took off at full speed and ran “laps” around his enclosure, eventually coming to a stop near the caretakers – especially if they had food.He loved to sing and rarely missed the opportunity to join in a collective howl with the others in the sanctuary.


At almost 17 years of age, Lady was the oldest female in the sanctuary and for the most part, she enjoyed excellent health. In fact, she gave her much younger companion, Caedus, a run for his money at every turn. However, last April Ladyhawk started having periodic seizures, which is not uncommon in older canids. Initially, Ladyhawk’s seizures were relatively infrequent and short in duration and she rebounded quickly.  As we moved into autumn, her seizures were still infrequent, but lasted longer and recovery was slower.



Three days before Christmas, animal care staff found Ladyhawk in her deckpen lying unresponsive and with labored breathing. Thinking that perhaps she had just had a seizure, we were hoping that she might rebound, as she had in the past. Sadly, she did not and it was apparent that she was in discomfort. After sending video footage and consulting on the phone with our attending veterinarian, it was decided that the kindest thing we could do for Lady was to help her pass on. Ladyhawk was humanely euthanized in her enclosure, surrounded by her caretakers as Caedus kept vigil from a distance. It was a very peaceful passing.

Ladyhawk was one of the most well-known wolves at the sanctuary, partly because of her beautiful, expressive face that graced many an article, story or video of the sanctuary and partly for her mischievous personality.

Good bye Friends

Although it is always very sad to lose a beloved resident of the sanctuary, we can all gather some comfort in knowing that at least while they were living at Wolf Haven, each animal was treated with care, compassion and respect.  We are honored that we had an opportunity to provide a home where each could flourish in his or her own way. We wish to give a very special thank and heartfelt condolences to those of you who honored their lives through symbolic sponsorship and adoption.

Wolf Gallery

What It’s Like to Work With Wolves (part 5 of a 5-part series)

Rocco and Sitka roll in bear poop donated by Woodland Park Zoo

Rocco and Sitka roll in bear poop donated by Woodland Park Zoo

So Why Work with Wolves? by Brennan Stoelb, Animal Care Specialist

When it comes to getting messy, it’s part of the job. I obviously shop at Goodwill. I know that the animals are getting a great variety of food and that care and thought is used to ensure that they remain healthy. It’s also great to know that the road kill is being used for a great cause.

Animal care staff smiling through the rain

Animal care staff smiling through the rain

So at this point, we’ve learned that 1) animal care doesn’t play with wolves 2) it can be pretty unpleasant to work in inclement weather and 3) animal care staff not only deal with wolves, but can also be terrorized by the local wildlife (snakes and hornets, for example) and 4) it can be a pretty stinky job. That hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it?

snake visits admin office

Snake visits admin office

So why do I it? Well, when an animal wants nothing to do with me, doesn’t seek my attention, as in the case of wolves, they are simply doing what they should be doing. It means they are acting as a wild animal. We all want to be wanted and needed, but all they need is to be is left alone. Our residents always arrive at Wolf Haven with varying degrees of human sociability, due to their unique circumstances, and that’s ok. As long as they are comfortable with my presence as I go about my day, performing tasks to allow them a good life, I’m content with that.

As for the weather, very rarely do I look at the forecast. I simply assume that every day the weather will be awful and then I’m never let down. I get to be outside, and I’ll never argue with that.

Brennan & volunteer Larry Oggs do another glamour job - paint

Brennan & volunteer Larry Oggs do another glamour job – paint

As for the local wildlife……there is nothing redeeming about snakes and hornets.