The Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre near Golden, British Columbia, is currently home to nine wolves that have never been in the wild and serve as “ambassadors for their wild cousins.” The Centre’s mission is to “promote wolf and bear conservation throughout the natural environment.” This was the first time either of us had seen a wolf up close.
The Wolf Centre offers the unique opportunity to walk alongside a wolf in the wild. The wolves hike freely with no boundaries and provide great photographic opportunities. The wolves can hike off a leash because they’ve been “imprinted” to the Wolf Centre owners, consider them their pack leaders, and thus stay close to them. This beautiful wolf had just returned from a nature walk and gave us the opportunity to photograph her without a fence in between.
Wolves are a keystone species. Think of the wolf like a keystone in an arch, the key piece that holds everything together. When humans remove wolves from an ecosystem, the animals on which a wolf feeds (deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, etc.) overpopulate and overgraze an area. This reduces willow and aspen trees, which serve as cover and food for other animals such as beavers. Eventually the entire ecosystem is negatively affected. Wolves actually strengthen populations of its prey by culling the old, weak and sick animals from the herds.
A wolf’s hearing is 20 times better than a human’s. Wolves can hear sounds up to 10 miles away, depending on the terrain. A wolf’s sense of smell is about 100 times better than a human’s. A wolf’s eyesight is about the same as a human’s during the day. But at night, a wolf can see much better than a human.
This cute wolf pup was as curious and playful as a canine puppy.