Wolves Home / Rescuing the Red Wolf
Field Journal: Gray Wolves of Yellowstone


Yellow Mike Wednesday, November 20, 1996

Volunteer wolf caretaker
Reported by Michael Morse

We also have a red wolf captive breeding facility at the Alligator River NWR that has 15 pens for wolves. Right now we have 13 captive wolves. They are cared for by our volunteer wolf caretaker, Albrey White. Each volunteer caretaker works with us for three to four months. Albrey lives in a field cabin near the wolf pens and checks on the wolves three times a week. He not only makes sure the wolves have clean water and food, but also learns how to track wild wolves using telemetry gear, conduct wolf surveys by maintaining track stations, help set and check traps, handle wolves for processing, and check the captive wolves' health.

Caretakers also have a chance to participate in other seasonal Refuge activities like bird banding and loggerhead sea turtle nest patrol. Caretakers help us survey black bears, American alligators and red-cockaded woodpeckers, and present educational programs to the public. Our caretakers leave the program having enjoyed a wide variety of experiences.

Albrey fed the wolves in the captive colony this morning. We feed a wolf dry dog food until we get ready to release a wolf. Then we switch the food to road-killed rabbits and raccoons. Most of these animals have been released in the wild at least once, but have had to be returned to captivity because they were too tolerant of humans. We believe that after wolves are kept in captivity for extended periods of time, they become used to being around the people taking care of them. Because of this, they don't make good release candidates. Typically, a wolf that can successfully be released into the wild will be between 1 to 2 years old.

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