This was one of two research centers I visited, the California Wolf Center near Julian. The other I wrote about earlier, the Wildlife Research Institute near Ramona.
Instructions were to meet at the Wolf Center sign on KQ Ranch Road about five miles out of Julian. You have to make reservations for this visit in deference to any possible cancellations during bad weather. The Wolf Center dirt road was impassible with the piles of snow from the recent snowstorm not quite melted away and what was melted made the road really muddy. We lined up our vehicles and followed a guide through the Panzanita RV park to get to the Wolf Center. Buses, RVs and motorcycles are not permitted on the Wolf Center road at any time.
At the Center, we watched a Power Point program on wolf education, conservation, research, and what the Center is doing to preserve them. We followed our guide, Helen, to two huge wire enclosures where the wolves came right up to us (on the other side of the fence!), “The California Wolf Center is home to an impressive pack of Alaskan gray wolves and multiple packs of Mexican gray wolves. Seeing our resident wolves helps people understand the key role that wolves play in a healthy ecosystem, and heightens their interest in conserving wolves in the wild.”
The Mexican wolves roamed the SW United States in huge numbers but they were almost completely wiped out by government-sponsored eradication programs in the lower 48 States. In the mid-1970s, seven unrelated Mexican wolves were entered into a breeding program. At this time there are approximately 42 of these extremely rare, free-ranging North American wolves living in the wild.
I cannot remember if I have ever seen wolves in the wild anywhere other than Alaska. I saw two on various trips into Denali National Park. God Bless until next week.
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At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”