In addition to my “regular” profession in video and design, I also work at an amazing organization here in North Carolina called the Conservators’ Center where I am a member of the gray wolf handling team. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Center is focused on public education and conservation of wild and exotic species. Our wolf team has spent thousands of hours interacting and training with our pack and we follow very strict procedures that govern how those interactions take place. I must stress that this is not an experience that we make available to the public under any circumstances and that all of our socialization interactions are on the animals’ terms. We work closely with our animal residents to provide them the best care possible and to ensure both their mental and physical health and wellbeing. (There’s a very interesting paper about wolf socialization from the 1960s published in the Oxford Journal of Integrative and Comparative Biology, if you’re interested, here.) Our techniques are modeled off of the procedures developed at Wolf Park in Indiana, a behavioural research and conservation facility dedicated to wolves and other wild canids that’s been in operation since 1972 and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the handling and management of captive wolves.
ANYWAY, a couple of weeks ago, while we were conducting a socialization visit, the light was just too perfect to pass up and I grabbed my camera. We have some amazingly photogenic wolves and they were really showing off, which made for some great photos. Here are a few shots that I’d like to share:
Jake shot the photo of me and Trekkie as well as the cover image for this post.