The Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center has a new resident and ambassador-in-training just in time for Wolfstock 2013, a Memorial Day fundraiser for fire prevention. Keyni (pronounced keen-eye) is an 8-week-old full-blooded wolf puppy that was rescued from the home of an older couple in Florida.
Darlene Kobobel, founder of the center that specializes in rescuing native canids including wolves, coyotes and fox, said the owners didn’t keep its male and female wolves separated and ended up with two litters of puppies.
“We took in Keyni, two other pups went to Mission: Wolf in Westcliff and two went to a zoo in Oregon,” she said. “This is the second time that’s happened with this couple. This time we and other wolf-rescue organizations are taking up a collection to get the wolves spayed or neutered. That’s the only way to solve the surplus animal problem.”
She added that there are already many more domestic dogs and cats born in this country than there are available homes and that the problem is even worse for exotic animals like wolves.
“There is no reason unless you’re preserving the species to ever breed these animals,” she said.
It will cost $810 to spay two female wolves and neuter two males. The center has donated $250 toward the project and Mission: Wolf is also contributing.
Besides its 17 wolves, the center is also home to four red fox, four coyotes and five swift fox that are part of a species preserving breeding program.
Besides these, the center is also home to americauna chickens that lay blue and green eggs, rescued domesticated dogs, a cat, two burros, miniature horses, a couple of ferrets, some lovebirds and Kobobel’s cichlid fish collection.
“We’re a menagerie,” she said.
While the center does its part rescuing these animals, Kobobel is worried about the future.
“All wildlife is endangered by what we’re doing,” she said. “Until that affects us directly there are very few people willing to be a voice for the animals.”
She added that since the wolves have been taken off the Endangered Species list in Wyoming, 20 percent of the Yellowstone wolves have been killed.
“All of the (Yellowstone’s) radio collared wolves are dead,” she said. “Wolves are a keystone species. We are all imperiled by their loss.”
The center was created when Kobobel rescued a wolf-dog named Chinook from a kill shelter and a wolf named Nikita rescued from a 5-foot by 8-foot crate he was locked inside of for three years. The two became constant companions, so much so that they came to be called “The Lovers.”
Their story is told in detail during the Tuesday through Sunday, by reservation tours of the nonprofit center.
Repeat visitors will see some changes at the center. There is a new meat house where meat for the canid population is stored in freezers and refrigerators, a veterinarian house, solar panels on the visitors’ center roof and a xeriscape garden created by Teller County Master Gardeners.
“We’re trying to be as green as we can be,” Kobobel said. “We’ve also acquired the land next door so now were up to 70 acres. That land allows us to have a bigger no-development buffer around our animal enclosures and to do some fire mitigation.”
The new puppy will be introduced to the public at Wolfstock 2013, where, from 1 a.m.-5 p.m. at the center on Lower Twin Rock Road, there will be food and beer, a silent auction, bands, vendors and door prizes.
Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children age 12 years old and younger and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Shuttles and parking will be available at the Divide Post office.
For more information about the center and to reserve a tour date and time, visit www.wolfeducation.org or call 719-687-9742.