Something a bit different today. Me, Taylor and our friend Jack went to the Northern Lights Wolf Centre on the outskirts of Golden, BC and I just felt like writing a little something about our time there. So here’s a crash-course on the fabulous creatures, inarticulately stitched together from the scraps of information I retained.
The drive along Highway 1 from Revelstoke to Golden was full of spectacular views and beautiful scenery which was a pretty awesome start to the journey. I’ve always been a lover of animals (especially of the canine variety) so it was an exciting ride and the driving views in BC completely enhance any trip.
We arrived just on time for the talk and joined a small group of other visitors just outside the enclosure of Wiley, Flora and Scrappy-Dave. These three are the most comfortable around people and actually all get on with one another so they’re housed together in centre stage, just inside the centre.
All three wolves were adopted within their first days on the planet which meant they could be socialised with humans as puppies or ‘imprinted’. The Centre does not breed wolves so they try to adopt wolf cubs as early as possible so as to give them the best chance of becoming successfully imprinted.
Wiley is the eldest at the ripe old age of 15 years. (Typically, wild wolves live between 3 and 7 years but in captivity they can live more like 10-15 so Wiley is basically the elder of all wolves.) He’s the big-ol’-grandpa in his pack and is looked up to by the others – we even caught Dave giving him a little nose lick whilst we were visiting.
Flora is the most calm and understanding in the pack, so much so that she is able to act as a sort of centre ambassador. We were told that she frequently visits schools and other facilities to help educate people about wolves. She’s a friendly and affectionate wolf and is a constant reassurance to her brother.
Flora’s brother, Scrappy-Dave, is apparently the most goofy character in the pack and had just arrived from an off-lead run in the woods when we met him (along with his pal Yogi, one of two domestic dogs living on site.)
Mack and Moki are a very different pair; they were not imprinted by their previous owners and arrived at the centre when they were around 3 months old and so don’t feel 100% comfortable with humans the way Wiley, Dave and Flora do.
Keehta is a wolf-dog, this means she’s part wolf/part dog, a hybrid that’s currently legal as a pet in Canada and the US. She’s just 25% husky, with the remaining 75% made up of grey wolf. We were told that Keehta had 6 different homes in just her first year, wolf-dogs are pretty unsuitable as pets as most people struggle to take of them properly. Whilst the centre don’t sanction wolf-dogs as pets it was super interesting to learn about them. Plus, she’s absolutely stunning.
The Hunting Industry in BC
Something the centre really wanted visitors to consider was the gradually decreasing amounts of wild wolves there are left. They told us there were as few as 75 wolves along the 2-hour journey (between Revelstoke and Golden) we’d taken that day.
They made reference to the Yellowstone National Park in the US. It was created to protect deer and elk species so wolves were removed from the population. Steadily, all species (except deer and elk) declined to nothing as a result of the wolves’ absence. With the elk and deer just eating and making babies their numbers were so large that smaller animals had nothing left to eat. Wolves are what’s known as a keystone species, that is :
a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.
You can learn even more about wolves and the BC centre on their website, northernlightswildlife.com . There are loads of cool infographics and facts about their evolution, pack structures and communication and it’s definitely worth a read!
– Cat –