Dogs are often termed as “man’s best friends.” However, not many would refer to wolves in the same way. Most people can’t help but feel a bit scared when they hear that distinctive howling sound on a winter’s night.
However, at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (CWWC) near Pikes Peak, wolves are just part of the family, as an incredible video with one of its brave volunteers has shown.
The CWWC is a one-of-a-kind sanctuary for Mexican Wolves and Swift Foxes, two species that used to roam freely around the Southwestern United States before being gradually hunted to near extinction during the 19th and early 20th centuries by farmers, ranchers, and sport hunters.
As their website explains, the CWWC has a primary mission of educating people “about the importance of Wolves, Coyotes, and Foxes to our ecosystem,” and the sanctuary also provides “natural habitats and exceptional lives for the animals entrusted to our care since they cannot live in the wild.”
Taking care of its many charges requires lots of help and enthusiastic volunteers to make a huge difference at the shelter. However, one worker hasn’t just given a few spare hours to the animals; she’s practically been adopted by them.
Kekoa and Danielle are famous!
The volunteer’s name is Danielle, and she’s formed a particularly close relationship with two of the wolves at the sanctuary, Kekoa and Sakara, who just so happen to be siblings. After arriving at the CWWC in 2007 as puppies, the two Gray Wolves, also known as Timber wolves, quickly made themselves at home.
“Kekoa is a handsome young male with a sweet personality, which is good because he loves to greet his visitors with wolf kisses… with his paws on your shoulders, he towers at seven feet…” the sanctuary described him on their Facebook page. Sakara, on the other hand, “is a bit shy with humans; however, her presence is always apparent as she watches from behind a tree.”
As Michelle Smith, a worker at the sanctuary, told The Dodo, “since [Kekoa] was raised by people and bottle fed from the time he was born, he is very well socialized, meaning he enjoys the company of people.” Curiously enough, the CWWC staff have observed that Kekoa is much more timid around male staff, preferring the company of female humans.
But of all the people who interact with the wolves, Kekoa (and his sister Sakara) seem to prefer Danielle.
Kekoa & Sakara are both being lazy howlers.
On one occasion, the center filmed footage of Kekoa having a ball with Danielle. In the first video, a beautiful blanket of fresh snow covers the ground. Danielle walks with Kekoa, who shows he’s having a great time by wagging his big bushy tail and licking her hand.
Then his sister Sakara comes over, eager to get in on the action and perhaps see if Danielle has any treats for them. While she’s usually not too keen on people, according to the CWWC, she appears to make an exception for the friendly volunteer.
According to the American Kennel Club, when wolves lick each other’s faces, it’s a sign of submission that goes back to babies “kissing” their mothers to get food that they have brought back from hunting. Perhaps Kekoa is hoping the same as he practically knocks over the diminutive Danielle with his snuggling.
Good morning! Here is another video of Danielle with Kekoa. Sakara also makes a guest appearance. Have a great day!
تم النشر بواسطة Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center في الأربعاء، ٧ يناير ٢٠١٥
About halfway through the video, Kekoa does a back flop, raising his legs in the air. He seems to be hoping for a belly rub! But this big guy easily knocks Danielle down and licks her some more. When the video got out on the internet, thousands of animal lovers commented on how sweet this interspecies friendship was and how much it made them want to visit the CWWC.