Standard Tour at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is located in Divide, approximately 40 minutes from Colorado Springs. The wildlife center’s mission is to educate the public about the importance of conservation, specifically for coyotes, foxes, and wolves. One of the main ways the center educates the public is through the standard tour.
The standard tour is a guided educational tour that lasts one hour. Before embarking on the tour, a guide explains the current issues coyotes, foxes, and wolves face today. After the brief introduction, the guide leads the group on a tour of the facility. During the tour, visitors can see coyotes, red foxes, timber wolves, and more.
Admission for the standard tour is $20 per adult or $15 per child between the ages of 3 and 11. The proceeds that the wildlife center makes go directly back to caring for the animals. This is a non-breeding facility and the wildlife kept here are strictly used as education ambassadors.
Before signing up for the tour, it is important to point out that you cannot bring a camera with a zoom lens higher than 70 mm. However, the tour brings you close enough to the wildlife that you can take decent photos on any smartphone. If you would like to use a larger zoom lens, you can sign up for Private Photo Sessions. In addition to the standard tour, the center also offers a variety of interactive tours.
The United States and the Fur Trade
The standard tour starts at the enclosure that houses Rhett and Scarlett. Rhett and Scarlett are two beautiful red foxes, which are native to the United States. At the enclosure, the tour guide explains that the U.S. is still involved in the fur trade and how humans have impacted animals like the red fox.
Years ago, when there were limited options, fur was used to help people stay warm during the winter. However, the introduction of new technology and different clothing materials have made fur obsolete. Today, people buy fur to showcase their status and wealth. Therefore, fur no longer serves a purpose; fur belongs on the animal it came from.
Foxes Raised for the Fur Trade
Foxes that are raised for the fur industry never have a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Instead, they live their entire lives enclosed in tiny cages. As many as 4 foxes are crammed into the same cage, making it impossible for the animals to move around. Sadly, these foxes never live to see their first birthday.
The foxes are raised until they are approximately 7 months old and then slaughtered. If they were to live any longer, the animals would likely become irritated and destroy their own fur. The fur industry uses several methods to kill foxes, with the most horrific being electrocution.
As if electrocution isn’t enough, the fur farms also inbreed animals to create specific coats. For example, red foxes are naturally red with black and white accents. The fur farms, however, have figured out how to create solid white foxes after several rounds of inbreeding.
Unfortunately, the U.S. and numerous countries around the world are still involved in the fur trade. Rhett and Scarlett could have easily been victims to this senseless crime.
Threats to Coyotes and Wolves
Like foxes, coyotes and wolves also face threats from humans. Over the years, coyotes and wolves have been known to kill domesticated animals. As a result, farmers often kill them to protect their livestock.
Even though people kill coyotes and wolves to protect their own animals, people in the U.S. still hunt them for sport. Most states allow for coyote hunting year-round, with many states having an unlimited bag limit. Currently, even with conservation efforts in place, it is still legal to hunt wolves for sport in 5 states. Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all allow for sport hunting of wolves.
Leg-Hold Traps Are Still Legal in Most States
In addition, several states allow for the use of leg-hold traps. Currently, there are more states that allow for the use of these cruel devices than those that ban them. Hunters use leg-hold traps to catch fur-bearing animals, however, other wildlife like coyotes, wolves, and even domestic dogs are accidentally targeted instead.
Even though there are trapping standards in place, some states only require individuals to check leg-hold traps once every 72 hours. Sadly, animals that are caught in the trap are left without food and water until they are captured. Once in the leg-hold trap, animals will do anything they can to escape. As a result, many animals end up with severe injuries that often lead to death. With advances in technology, there’s no reason these inhumane trapping devices should still be in use today.
A Tour of the Facility
When the tour guide finishes the discussion about the fur trade and leg-hold traps, visitors are given the chance to walk around the red fox enclosure and take pictures. After a few minutes, the tour continues to the wolf enclosures. Guests are taken around numerous pens that house Arctic wolves, coyotes, gray wolves, and endangered Mexican gray wolves.
During this portion of the tour, the guide gives a brief description of each enclosure and the animals that can be found within. The coyotes and wolves are used to daily visitors and often run up to the fence when the guide gets near. This gives visitors the perfect opportunity to pull out their phones and snap pictures.
Howl Like a Wolf
At the end of the tour, the guide pulls the group aside and informs everyone it’s time to say goodbye. Even though it’s time to go, this is the best part of the tour. The guide instructs everyone to give their best howl and starts a countdown. What happens next is incredible.
Below is the recording from a previous wolf tour. When you play the recording, you will slowly start to realize that each wolf has its own unique howl. If this doesn’t give you chills, then I don’t know what will.
Visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
To conclude, if you’re a wolf or wildlife lover, then visiting the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center should definitely be on your bucket list. During the standard tour, visitors learn about the importance of conservation for these beautiful animals and have the chance to get up close and personal to members of the pack. Additional tours are available for wildlife photography opportunities. For more information, check out the resources below.