Then we moved on to the wolf talk tour. There we got a chance to see the wolves in their enclosures. Only a portion of their population is in the display area. Being a sanctuary, most of the individual wolves are not eligible for reintroduction to the wild. But the facility does participate in breeding programs that allows them to build up pack nucleus' that can be released in the regions that are being repopulated. It has been discovered that if they release only a male and female together, the two rarely bond and stay together. But if the humans set them up in a pack with youngsters (even if they aren't the two alpha's pups) they will usually stay together to care for the younger wolves. The facility is also part of a fostering program with red wolves. They have two pairs of red wolves right now that they hope are pregnant. If they are then some of the pups will be swapped out with pups from wild packs on the east coast. That allows for a new influx of genetics for both the wild packs and the population held in captivity.
We were treated to an awesome howl as well. Apparently, the wolves don't howl as often as you would expect. So the guide was really excited that we got to hear one. It was amazing. It started at the far end of the large grouping of enclosures and traveled like a wave until it reached us, and all the wolves were howling. Here's a snipet of what it was like. The video truly doesn't capture how encompasing it was. You primarily hear the two wolves right in front of us. But it isn't bad for a cell phone camera :)
I wish I understood why humans were so afraid of such amazing beasts. We've done more harm to them than they could ever do to us.