California Wolf Center

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California Wolf Center
Industry Wildlife conservation
Founded 1977
Headquarters Julian, California, United States
Key people Norm Switzer, Chairman of the Board, Executive Director;
Paul Kenis, Founder, Center Historian;
Patrick Valentino, Director of Planning and Development;
Daniel Moriarty, Secretary

California Wolf Center is a non-profit wildlife education center committed to increasing public awareness and understanding of the importance of all wildlife by focusing on the history, biology, animal behavior and ecology of the gray wolf [1] (Canis lupus). The center offers educational presentations, participating in conservation programs[2] and hosting and funding research on both captive and free-ranging wolves.


The California Wolf Center [3] is an education, conservation, and research center located 50 miles east of San Diego, near the town of Julian, California. Founded in 1977 to educate the public about wildlife and ecology, the Center is currently home to several packs of gray wolves, some of which are exhibited for educational purposes.

Mexican wolves once roamed the southwestern United States in countless numbers, but government-sponsored eradication programs almost wiped out this distinct subspecies of North American gray wolf in the lower 48 United States. In the mid-1970s, only seven unrelated Mexican wolves were available to start a captive breeding program. Today, as a result of that successful breeding program, there are approximately 42 free-ranging Mexican wolves living in the wild. However, they remain one of the rarest land mammals in North America.[4]

The Center aims to further human understanding of the key role that wolves plays a in a healthy ecosystem. The Center's goal is to provide the most natural environment for all wolves living at the California Wolf Center, as well as provide information about gray wolves so that people can make informed decisions about the issues that affect humans and wolves.

The wolves[edit]

The Center is home to a pack of Alaskan gray wolves and several packs of Mexican gray wolves, some of whom are being reintroduced into the southwestern United States. These wolves experience very limited human contact to avoid habituation and to preserve their wild behaviors.

The pack of Alaskan gray wolves is an intact pack, this allows thousands of visitors each year to observe the social interactions that occur in a captive wolf pack. It also gives students and researchers opportunities to learn about wolf behavior.

The California Wolf Center participates in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, a bi-national effort to help Mexican gray wolves recover in the wild. Most of the Center’s Mexican gray wolf packs reside in off-exhibit enclosures that help prepare them for potential release into the wild. Retaining their wild nature by keeping them off-exhibit will help them to survive if they are selected for release into the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area in New Mexico and Arizona. The Mexican gray wolves that are not candidates for release or breeding are on limited display during some of the educational programs. This gives visitors the opportunity to view the distinctive physical features of this subspecies of gray wolf.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, J. Harry (2010-06-26). "Wolf Center is home to rare Mexican grays". Sign On San Diego. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  2. ^ "Glacier's Brown Bag Series begins Friday when student scientists share their research stories". Great Falls Tribune. 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2010-07-22. [dead link]
  3. ^ Raftery, Miriam (2010-02-21). "Call of the Wild: Wolf Center in Julian Helps Reintroduce Rare Breed". East County Magazine. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  4. ^ "Lost Lobos: Local Wolf Experts Voice Dismay Over Killing of 3 Rare Mexican Wolves". East County Magazine. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 

External links[edit]