By Ed Harris
The wolves are returning to Southington later this month and it could be one of the final times they visit the area. The wolves are part of the Ambassador Wolf Program.
“This is their retirement tour,” said Ruth Stanley, a local volunteer with the group.
Stanley said that Mission: Wolf, the group behind the program, is looking to focus more on its home territory in Colorado. The group may come out again at some point, but nothing has been set.
Mission: Wolf travels around the country in hopes that giving audiences an up-close look at the canines will gradually result in wider awareness and protection efforts. The group will highlight why wolf-dog crosses do not make suitable pets and how everyone can support wild wolf recovery across the country.
Mission: Wolf is a non-profit education facility and peaceful refuge for about 40 captive born gray wolfs and wolf-dog crosses located in the mountains of southern Colorado. The groups run an onsite educational facility and a national traveling education program.
Southington has become a routine stop for the group during its annual east coast swing. This will be the sixth time that the group has come to town.
“I think that people in the area care about wildlife,” Stanley said, describing why the event is popular in town.
The presentation will include a slideshow and discussion on the wolves of Mission: Wolf and wild wolf issues and the current status of wild wolves in North America. About halfway through the program, three wolves that are docile enough to be near humans, will be introduced.
The wolves are expected to be Magpie, Abraham and Zeab, the three wolves that have come in past years. There is also the possibility that Mission: Wolf will include a one-year-old pup.
Mission: Wolf began coming to Southington thanks to the efforts of Betty Stanley, Ruth’s mother. Betty met the group over a decade ago and invited Mission: Wolf to come to town.
Betty became a volunteer and helped to keep an eye on the wolf’s plight. Betty visited the sanctuary in Colorado this summer and she will talk about the experience during the event.
Also this year, residents will help name a new mascot. People can submit suggestions during the Apple Harvest Festival. The names will then be dwindled down and those attending the Oct. 15 event will vote on the name.
“We’ve got a lot going on,” Ruth said.
The event is taking place at Kennedy Middle School on Wednesday, Oct. 15. There are two program times, 5:30 to 7 p.m. and 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults ($12 at the door) and $5 for children ($6 at the door). Advanced tickets can be purchased at Petco, Southington Vet, Pack Tracks and Blimpies on Meriden-Waterbury Road. The Mission: Wolf booth at the Apple Harvest Festival will also have VIP front row tickets available.
There is another program with the wolves on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Falcons Hall. This event, is capped at how many can attend. The fundraiser offers a more intimate setting to meet the wolves.
For more info on Mission: Wolf or the programs, email email@example.com of visit the group’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/WolfCentral.
By Ed Harris