Wolf Mountain Sanctuary: The Saving Place

Note: Idaho has apparently joined Alaska in the use of aircraft to rundown wolves and shoot them from the air. There is also the possibility, according to the Defenders of Wildlife, of the pups being gassed in their dens. It is my hope that wolves shall be placed back on the Endangered Species list of Interior Secretuary Salazar. Meanwhile, I have cancelled my trip to Alaska this summer and refused to attend any conference in Idaho or Montana.

 by Alan Haskvitz

The door swung open and I stood looking into the enclosure of the legendary wolf. The antagonist of Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and other works of fiction stood before me. I was entering the world of an animal that has created such fear in humans that they were hunted into extinction in the lower 48 states. Before me was a large wolf with vivid yellow eyes that followed my every move. I sat on a nearby picnic table and wondered what was going to happen next.

Licked by a Star

I caught a glimpse of the wolf as she moved towards me. Effortlessly she jumped on the table. I sat still, arms folded against my chest, breathing a bit fast, with my senses on high alert. What happened next was magic. The yellow-eyed giant started pushing against me, rubbing her nose in my hair, and…was that a kiss? No, it couldn’t be. Maybe a lick. Either way, this was the first time a movie star had ever, ah, kissed me. Yep, movie star. This was one of the wolves featured in the Twilight movies and several other films and television productions. .

During the rest of the visit with these great animals I was enthralled with their actions. They pushed against me, walked around me, and in general they were, well, good wolves. Little Red Riding Hood be damned. I left an hour later not only with a new appreciation for these endangered animals, but feeling that this was the best $35 I had ever spent. I wonder how the the Inland Empire Tourist people had missed promoting this gem.

Interacting with the Wolves

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is located in Lucerne Valley, about an hour drive for 909 readers. This is truly a saving place dedicated to preserving the lives and legacy of this nation’s few remaining wolves and to educating the public about them in a way few have ever dared. Unlike nearly any facility in the world, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary provides visitors with the opportunity to directly interact with the wolves, look into their eyes, and perhaps develop a fresh perspective on an animal that continues to be hunted for sport.

Tonya Littlewolf, who is part Apache, developed this remarkable facility as an extension of her life’s calling. As a youngster she would hide in wolf dens to escape the adult world. Seeing this unique ability to be at ease with these ancestors of the domesticated dog, her grandparent told her that working with wolves was her summons in life and believed she had the the spirit of the wolf about her. A lifetime later that prediction has proven correct. Littlewolf established the sanctuary in 1986 and never looked back despite huge meat bills and the rising cost of veterinarian visits. She has nearly single handled carved out a safe place for the public to go meet these noble creatures and to learn the truth about an animal that is again being pushed into oblivion after being removed from the endangered species list by the Interior Secretary.

I am part of he wolves they are part of me toghter they are one, we walk together, spiritial. healers.

Adopt a Wolf

At present there are 14 wolves sheltered at the Sanctuary and two pups are scheduled to arrive later in the fall. She takes in wolves from Alaska and other states. Typical of them is the wolf adopted by Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California as part of meeting the State curriculum. The students had stared a wildlife club in honor of Wolf 527 who was killed just outside Yellowstone. This famous wolf was featured in a documentary showing how the wolves helped restore balance to the national park. The wolf was killed as it wore a radio transmitting collar. The students saw the need to get involved and asked Ms.Littlewolf if there was a wolf that needed adopting. She described a young, clumsy one that needed some love. The students arranged to provide ten dollars a month to sponsor this wolf named Denali. Over the years the students have watched Denali grow into an older, mischievous, and still clumsy wolf. They love to hear about his escapades such as nearly flooding his enclosure by opening the water spout or falling off a ledge when he misjudged his jumping abilities. It was a win-win for the students as they learned about wolves and their fund raising helped off-set the food bills for this clownish wolf. Others wolves need adopting, too, and Ms. Littlewolf supplies adoption papers and a biography. 

Wolf Mountain sanctuary is a non-profit facility and all funds go to the care of the wolves and are tax deductible. Several groups have tried to help, but it is the general public that is needed most, said Ms. Littlewolf. For $35 a person, half of what it would cost for Disneyland, the visitors get an explanation of what wolves are like, an introduction into how they are cared for, and an opportunity to enter their world. No extra charge for kisses from the stars. 

For more information go to

http://www.wolfmountain.com/

For reservations and directions call 1-760-248-7818

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