By Nisqually Valley News —
Located at 311 Offut Lake Road SE, Tenino, its mission is to “Conserve and protect wolves and their habitat.”
The nonprofit Wolf Haven accomplishes this mission through providing sanctuary, education and conservation. Wolf Haven rescues and provides sanctuary for displaced, captive-born wolves, offers educational programs about wolves and the value of all wildlife, promotes wolf restoration in historic ranges and works to protect our remaining wild wolves and their habitat.
The sanctuary is open six days a week April through September (closed on Tuesdays). Tours start every hour on the hour, with no reservations needed except for group tours. Wolf Haven is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for Sundays (noon to 4 p.m.).
During the winter months of October through March, it is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Wolf Haven is closed Feb. 16 to March 16.
Currently, only about 75 Mexican gray wolves are living in the wild, mostly in Arizona and New Mexico. About 300 remain in captivity in the U.S. and Mexico.
The wolves received protection under the Endangered Species Act 37 years ago. The Mexican grays remain one of the most imperiled mammals in North America and are the world’s most at-risk subspecies of gray wolf.
Wolf Haven’s involvement with the animals dates back to 1994 when it was selected to participate in the Species Survival Plan, a recovery program designed to oversee captive population management and enhance conservation in the wild.
In the mid-1970s, the Mexican gray wolf had nearly disappeared from North America. Five of the rare species were captured in the wild and another two from captivity formed the basis for the genetic restoration of the nearly extinct animals.
Since Wolf Haven got involved, it has produced five litters of Mexican gray pups and released two packs — 11 wolves — into Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Some of the first Mexican wolves to reenter the wild came from Wolf Haven, which is one of just three pre-release facilities for the species in the United States.
One of Wolf Haven’s most popular events is the amateur photography tours, held during the colder months when the wolves are wearing their winter coats and are most active. During photo tours, the sanctuary is closed to the public and the number of participants is limited.
n For more information: 360-264-HOWL and www.wolfhaven.org