Wolf Socialization at the Conservators Center

my name is Julia Madson Wagner I'm the senior director of administration here at the conservators Center the conservators Center was founded in 1999 we have a three-part mission we do educational work conservation work in rescue work those missions are interconnected here we house 20 different species we have about a hundred animals who we care for representing a huge array of carnivores including lions tigers leopards wolves and the more obscure species such as bent wrongs and caracoles that you might not have heard of before the animals who reside at the conservator centre have come from a variety of different backgrounds some of them are rescues who have come in because their homes were no longer appropriate some have been placed here because their owners felt that this would be the right solution for them others we've actually brought in to be a part of our conservation breeding program or because we felt they'd be excellent educational ambassadors each animal here does have its own story and it's something that we think is important to share with our visitors so they're able to connect with these individuals and understand who they are and where they came from we're able to educate people about these animals and we're also able to educate future professionals with our internship program our continuing education in specific areas we've really worked very hard to emphasize education because that's really the core of what we're doing here I'm Frank pine I am a member of the conservator centre wolf handling team my name is Kevin Robinson and I'm part of the wolf handling and socialization team my name is Kim pine and I'm a member of the wolf handling team here at the conservators Center along with my husband Frank we are the primary wolf handlers a lot of the interactions that we do at the highest level it's socialization what we're doing is providing good positive experiences for the wolves in the wild a wolf will have a quarter mile flight radius to humans that means that if it wolf thinks here within a quarter mile they're gonna get very afraid and run off the Wolves that don't have that instinctive fear of people in wild have historically especially in North America been killed by humans and so to overcome that one of the challenges in captivity is the wolves aren't going to be able to get half a mile away from you so what you want to do is socialize them and that means that we are having we're letting the wolves understand that human is something that is friendly and loves them and will take care of them as opposed to something that's terrifying that's going to hurt them at the highest level that's what we're doing the reason we have a team of people is because both for our security and our safety it's certainly something that we don't take lightly and we've never do alone so the more people we have the better off we are in terms of our own safety but also the better off the wolves are this is part of the way that we can enrich their lives in captivity for a carnivore for an intelligent carnivore having a smaller habitat than they would have had in the wild means that they have less to do they don't have to hunt for themselves we provide food so anything that we can do to provide a social outlet or something of its wolf TV for them essentially so the more people they have that they know that they have relationships with and they have a different relationship with each one of us so we are a part of their enjoyment in life in addition to the the more logistical reasons to provide good medical care and all that kind of thing so it also serves as enrichment technically all three our North American gray wolves we have two that exhibit part of the Canis lupus arctos subspecies and that's gonna be tricky and Roland those are the two males in the pack and then Hopa the only female in the pack would just be the Canis lupus North American gray I hope it was a wolf that was found injured on a construction site in North Carolina and she came to live with us as a rescue the two younger wolves the two males trekking Rowland came to live with us from a facility in Maryland that was looking to find a home for a couple of the wolves that they had being able to work with these guys is being able to provide these animals a really really high quality of life and that is hugely intrinsically rewarding for me mainly I work with our canids which are just the Wolves the New Guinea senior dogs and now the dingo although I do also work with the cleaning and feeding of the lions and tigers as well on one hand you've got 95 pounds of muscle built for endurance and then on the other side you've got 400 to 600 pounds of muscle built for take down and they're just completely different animals their personalities the really the way that they interact with each other and the way that you have to care for them that's really all different for me the really interesting thing is not just being able to interact with these guys but to see from the backend what all of the care that goes into taking care of these animals is working with wolves is not what you necessarily imagine when you see movies or you seeing people who have a wolf and you imagine this sort of glamorous contact with the wild and the truth of it is it's grungy it's smelly but it's spectacular too so the conservative Center is a microcosm we we are a world unto our self that we absolutely encourage everyone to become a part of whether that means coming as a visitor coming as a volunteer becoming an adopter there's so many ways to become a part of our community and we encourage everyone to consider their involvement because once you've met these animals you can't go back they're absolutely incredible and you're going to want to be a part of what we're doing here so the sooner you come the longer you can be a part of things

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