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Creating Awareness for Wolves by Maria Ferguson


Wolf Howl Animal Preserve experienced beautiful Fall weather along with many visitors to the Preserve this month.  The second week of October brought 160 school children from the Union County School Districts gifted program, LINK, Lively Innovated Network of Kids.  The students came in groups of 40 with their teachers.  They were all fantastic.  The rules of Wolf Territory were followed and the kids got to see Wolves up close!  Kimberly Thomas, one of the LINK teachers coordinated the trip for the various districts.  She had brought students to the Preserve a few years back and they enjoyed the experience.  We meet a lot of wonderful children some of who brought their parents and even Grandparents back for Wolf Awareness Week.  The students were studying animal behavior so my talk was on Wolf Ethology.  We showed pictures of their various behaviors that humans could relate to and also did a demonstration of scent rolling.  That always drew an “Awwwwwwwwww” from the group especially when it was Nita doing the rolling.  She really gets into it.

packoctober2010-1.jpg For the Wolves the startup of 2010 National Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) was fantastic.  They received a deer from a bow hunter.  They wound up getting another from him a few days later.  We had a great turnout for the 2010 WAW free admission days.  We had visitors from several States along with people from Mississippi who traveled hours to see the Wolves.  This year the visitors who came the furthest were from Oklahoma.  The young woman received a symbolic adoption of Ohoyo last Christmas and her Dad and Grandpa brought her to meet her.  The Wolves were a bit overwhelmed with the stream of cars that made their way into the Preserve particularly on the last Saturday.  Niko Akni was worried and Don had to sit in the enclosure with him most of the day on Saturday.  Nita decided to distress howl.  She has never done that before.  We were all trying to figure out what sparked that when someone brought a pet rat out of their car.  There are no pets allowed for this very reason.  Wolves have a keen sense of smell and will even know when a pet rat is stowed away in your vehicle.  One woman showed up during the week with a barking dog in her car.  When I said pets weren’t allowed she said she read that in our Visitor Information but didn’t think it meant in her car!  We don’t make up these rules just to make rules.  The Wolves are extremely territorial and another strange animal in their territory causes them a lot of anxiety.   I believe we accomplished our goal of educating the public on the true nature of Wolves.  We also plan on being open to the public more in 2011 so the Wolves won’t get as stressed out with visitors to their home.  We met an awful lot of nice people and we thank you for visiting the Preserve.

I would like to give a most sincere thank you to Susan and Mike Kline who once again judged our Wolf Awareness Week Contest.  I felt so sorry for them having to pick winners out of all the fantastic entries we received.  Here is a link to the results of 2010 National Wolf Awareness Week Contest winners.  Make sure you check out the Honorable Mentions as well.  Chorus Howls of thanks to everyone who participated. 

Hope to see more of you during 2011 and of course at our next Wolf Awareness Week celebration.

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