By Liz Strzepa
WILMINGTON, N.Y. —Wolves are often labeled as vicious creatures, willing and able to attack anything that threatens the pack.
But that’s the stereotype the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center is trying to change.
“Wolves are terrified of people and that’s something people don’t get thanks to Hollywood movies,” said Stephen Hall, co-owner of the center.
View photos from the refuge
To prove his point, Hall and his son and fellow wolf trainer, Alex, want the public to come to the wildlife refuge to see for themselves.
“Cree (the alpha) is probably the gentlest and he’s a little older so he likes to take it easy. Zeebie, the black wolf, is the one who physically raised Kiska, the young female,” Hall said.
The three gray wolves came to the Adirondacks from an organization in Minnesota. Hall said studying them is important to understanding why they’re needed in the wild.
“Wolves are what are called keystone predators. They’re the number one controller in nature of beaver and all large hooved mammals,” Hall said.
The co-owner of the refuge said the wild predators have many similarities to our beloved canines, in fact, he said studying wolves is key to understanding why we have dogs.
Wolves aren’t the only animals you can see at wildlife refuge. Guests can also see various birds of prey and other animals that were rescued
The refuge has dozens of animals including a coyote, hawks, owls, and even a bobcat. Wendy Hall said they usually wind up at the center because they’re either starving or hit by cars.
“We use the species as an indicator of what’s going on in the habitat,” said Wendy Hall.
She said seeing the animals healthy is what makes going to work worthwhile.
“My favorite part is that they’re alive,” said Wendy Hall.
She and her husband have been rehabilitating wildlife for over 40 years, and she said opening the refuge was their dream.
The duo have been inviting the public to see the work they do — free of charge — for about a decade, however donations are suggested.
Guests can attend what’s known as the “Wolf Gathering” every day, besides Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 10 a.m. at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center.