Wildlife

This Mexican Wolf is an endangered species

This Mexican Wolf is an endangered species

Part of the theme for my women’s group this year is wildlife.  Some of the women are exploring totemic relationships, some are looking at environment and biosphere, some are looking at social interactions within the species.  It’s all been interesting and there have been lots of field trips – including the one to visit my parents.

This weekend we took another trip, a little closer to town.  We went to the Wildlife Science Center just north of the Twin Cities.  We arranged for a private tour so we got to spend a lot of time talking about the animals.

Here's our guide, staff member Roberta, with the red wolves (also endangered) native to the East Coast

Here’s our guide, staff member Roberta, with the red wolves (also endangered) native to the East Coast

The Wildlife Science Center specializes in canids.  They have several different species of wolves, several of them endangered.  They have served as a research center and training area for wolf behavior, conservation, and preservation.  They have “rescued” many of their animals from closing zoos and from people who thought they’d make good pets.

Because they focus on canid behavior, visitors can bring their dogs (leashed and vaccinated).  We didn’t bring any of ours along, but heard a lot from our tour guide about why this is helpful.  Most of the animals here are hard-wired to protect their territories from other canids.  In the enclosures they become accustomed to the other wolves around them and the territory lines are rarely challenged.  However, visiting dogs provide the same stimulus of challenging a territory.

Grey wolves Manny, Chaves, Geobro

Grey wolves Manny, Chaves, Geobro they make a bachelor pack

There are other animals that have made their way to the Wildlife Science Center as  well.  Mittens the cougar will stalk the smaller dogs that come to visit.  So will the coyotes.  We were told that occasionally a goose (or other local animal) will make it’s way into a pen.  The ensuing interactions are also fascinating and educational.

The Wildlife Science Center was originally a DNR project, and is situated on leased DNR land.  In the early 90’s when funding stopped the current director was faced with the task of euthanizing all the animals.  Rather than do that she created the non-profit organization that the Wildlife Science Center is today.

The coyote came to the center from a university. Some student thought it would make a good dorm room pet!

This coyote came to the center from a university. Some student thought it would make a good dorm room pet!

Unfortunately the DNR lease has run out and the Wildlife Center can no longer stay there.  They have land and have started developing the infrastructure to move the animals.  The new space is MUCH larger.  There will be bigger enclosures and more modern facilities.  But this isn’t a small project.  The Wildlife Science Center is currently running a Move The Pack fundraising campaign and hopes to be able to open the new facility sometime in the spring of 2017.

We had a wonderful day.  It was fascinating to see how different the different species of wolves are, and yet how very similar to the dogs we know.

The animals mostly came out to see us, although it was still nap-time for the black bears so I didn’t get good photos there.  I highly recommend this facility for families, schools, dog lovers, or anyone interested in wildlife management.

"Mittens" - pictured here, and Pandora are representatives of a wildcat that ranges across the North American Continent

“Mittens” – pictured here, and Pandora are representatives of a wildcat that ranges across the North American Continent

Bobcats, one raised as a housecat the other an orphan exhibit very different behaviors when the keepers enter the enclosure.

Bobcats, one raised as a housecat the other an orphan, exhibit very different behaviors when the keepers enter the enclosure.

Advertisements

About lisaspiral

I've been writing and speaking about spirituality to small groups for years and am looking to expand my horizons. Hopefully this blog will inspire you to expand yours as well.

Posted on July 25, 2016, in Bio and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I had no idea this place existed! Thanks for sharing your visit.

  2. How cool that you got to visit the center. When I was writing my first novel about wolves, I was allowed to spend a good chunk of time there observing the wolves’ behavior to help with my research. It’s sad how many people think that wolves would make good pets. Then it doesn’t work out and they have to send them to someplace like the center. But I’m sure glad the center exists for these animals!

  3. Hey Lisa! This is Roberta, the one that did your program. I stumbled across your blog this morning. Thank you so much for this wonderful write-up about WSC! I was wondering if I could use your photo of me for some WSC promotional things? Potentially on the internet or in print. Let me know what you think.

    Thanks!
    Roberta

Please feel free to leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: