Hundreds of thousands of gray wolves once roamed North America, but the animals were killed en masse and their population reached critically low levels in the mid-twentieth century. Today, the number of gray wolves in the lower 48 states has risen to about 5,000, but it takes work and vigilance to make sure the North American population of wolves — gray and otherwise — continues to grow. Which is why it’s so alarming when organizations who help and protect wolves come under attack, such as the case of County of San Bernardino officials shutting down Wolf Mountain Sanctuary.
County officials demanded that the sanctuary re-permit — an extraordinarily expensive process this educational, non-profit organization cannot afford. The sanctuary is prohibited from operating until it files paperwork for an Exhibitor License, something that the sanctuary already attained in 1987.
The sanctuary receives no government grants, but instead relies on memberships and monthly adoptions. Despite the simple budget, the sanctuary fosters seventeen wolves and offers life-changing, educational experiences for those fortunate enough to interact with the rescued wolves both at the sanctuary and at off-site lectures.
This educational work helps to clear the cloud of misconception that surrounded wolves for hundred of years. Many of us need reminding that there’s never been a case of a wild, healthy wolf ever attacking a person in North America and that wolves only resort to domestic livestock when their natural prey (moose, caribou and deer) have been eradicated. Instead, wolves prefer to hunt the weak, diseased animals in a herd, leaving the herd younger and healthier.
Wolf Mountain Sanctuary was founded by Tonya Littlewolf in 1980 in Lucerne Valley, CA as a safe place for abused and injured wolves. These wolves play an important role in the organization’s goals of educating the public and developing awareness and appreciation for these beautiful animals.
There are too few people like Tonya and too few organizations like her sanctuary — too few people and groups doing work that is simply good, rooted in compassion and focused on the future. It is in the best interest of the County of San Bernardino, humanity, and the natural world that this small but valuable sanctuary be left in peace, to do the good work it has been doing for the last thirty years.
If you’d like to help Wolf Mountain Sanctuary stay open, sign the Care2 petition.
by Evie Pless