This past weekend I traveled to the Lakota Wolf Preserve. The Lakota Wolf Preserve is the home of Timber, Tundra, Arctic and British Columbian wolves, Northern and Southern Bobcats, and Red Foxes.
The Lakota Wolf Preserve is located at 89 Mt. Pleasant Road, Columbia, New Jersey. It is a two-hour drive from Philadelphia. See their site at http://www.lakotawolf.com/.
The wolves are there because humans thought they would make good pets. The humans were wrong and the owners of the Preserve saved the wolves and other animals that now call the Preserve home.
Double sets of fence separate the visitors from the residents.
All the animals are very healthy looking and well-taken care of. None of the animals could live free. They have the natural survival instincts of free individuals of their species but not the skills taught by a parent. They may know to hunt but not necessarily the skills to be successful.
The Preserve is home to a full pack of Arctic wolves a pack of timbers and a pack of tundras. There are also three British Columbian wolves.
We did get to hear the wolves howl. Jim Stein, a co-owner and speaker at the Preserve, invited the audience to howl, the kids in the crowd howled and the wolves remained silent. When Jim howled all the wolves joined in. They know his voice and consider him one of the pack since he raised them from puppyhood.
Wolves howl to rally the pack and communicate. Jim and his wife will stand in their backyard one mile away from the Preserve and the wolves will howl in response. Jim and his wife acan tell who is howling because they know each wolves individual voices.
This one is a beautiful male Northern Bobcat.
Hard as it is to believe humans also that that Bobcats would make good pets. They fact that one Bobcat can kill a 8-point buck all by itself didn’t stop them for having a Bobcat around their small children. Eventually the Bobcat’s tendency to “mark” (urinate) it’s territory and mark the family home caused the family to get rid of the Bobcat. Luckily the animal ended up at the Preserve.
The Red Foxes are gorgeous. A female Red Fox, named “Sierra” and a stunning black silver fox named “Tonka” also live at the Preserve. Jim’s wife said, “Foxes look like a dog, act like a cat, and smell like a skunk.” It is a very strong smell. Who would want that smell in their house? Some human tried to keep a Red Fox as a pet. It didn’t work out.
Red Foxes are highly intelligent. Jim’s wife (I’m am sorry I didn’t get her name) related a great antidote about how foxes rid themselves of fleas.
You can tell how bad a fox’s flea problem is by how big a stick it gets. A fox will choice a large stick, hold it horizontally in its mouth and slowly walk into a body of water, like a pond or river. As it slowly walks into the water, the fleas on it’s body will move further and further up the fox’s body. As the fox is up to it’s neck in water, it will tilt the stick up into the air. The fleas will climb onto the stick to escape the water. The fox will gently lay the stick in the water and quickly back out of the water, leaving the fleas on the stick or drowning in the water. Cool and smart.
White-tailed Deer also live in the forest of the Preserve, separate from the wolves, bobcats and foxes, of course.
See the Wolf Preserve on Facebook” http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lakota-Wolf-Preserve/249291433960. Jim Stein answers question on the natural history of wolves and the other animals.
Articles on various animals from the PA Game Commission