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The North American Wolf Foundation's
"Wolf Hollow"

Committed to the Preservation of the Gray Wolf

Just 35 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts, lies the quaint coastal town of Ipswich, once noted for its shipbuilding and now famous for its antique shops, fried clams, and wolves...yes, wolves. Since it opened to the public in 1990, Wolf Hollow, home to 17 gray wolves, has become the second most popular tourist attraction in Ipswich, drawing more than 30,000 visitors each year. Only the nearby beach does more business.

Wolf Hollow is a state- and federally-licensed nonprofit educational facility run by the North American Wolf Foundation, Inc. Paul Soffron, the Foundation's director, states that its goals are to protect gray wolves from extinction, educate the public about the animals, and provide people with an opportunity to see the wolves in as natural a setting as possible. It is his hope that people can learn to coexist with the wolf and understand that their presence poses no threat to man at all.

Wolf Hollow started out with just five pups that were donated by an educational facility to Soffron, the only individual in New England with the proper licenses to handle the animals. The facility now has 14 wolves in all — twelve adults and two male pups born May 4, 1998.

One might think that living near wolves would be a matter of concern to the neighbors. Surprisingly, this is not the case. In fact, some people actually like living near the facility. One man purposely bought the house across the way from Wolf Hollow because the sound of the howling wolves reminded him of his childhood in the Colorado wilderness. There's really no need for the town to worry about the wolves' presence; the four-acre facility is securely fenced so there's no threat of the animals getting out and roaming the neighborhood.

In nature, wolves hunt to eat. At Wolf Hollow, Soffron feeds them a diet of deer, Eukanuba-brand puppy food which he mixes with chicken broth, milk, eggs, cheese, bananas, steak, vitamins, and so on. Since the wolves can't hunt the deer themselves, Soffron relies on the generosity of local hunters. In the fall, he also gets a lot of large roadkilled deer as donations to the facility.

Part of what Soffron teaches the public are the environmental benefits of the wolf. Specifically, he warns of the dangers to human health if the wolf is driven to extinction. In the wild, one of the staples of the wolf's diet is rodents. Rodents are one of the prime carriers of the Lyme disease-carrying tick. Also, the leftover remains from wolves' larger prey attract various scavengers which also eat rodents. Fewer wolves in the area, therefore, can result in an increase in occurrences of Lyme disease such as we have been seeing recently.

Soffron also strongly warns against keeping wolves and wolf-hybrids as pets. Wolves are large and powerful animals who live according to their own rules of the pack. Not knowing how a wolf interprets certain facial and physical expressions such as staring, blinking, or smiling could be very dangerous. Wolf-hybrids, he cautions, are schizophrenic creatures by nature. Whereas a wolf will not attack a human but instead keep a respectful distance, dogs can be prone to attack when alarmed. Combining the size and power of the wolf with the aggressive nature of some dog breeds has proven fatal to humans many times in the past.

Soffron and his wife Joni help fund the North American Wolf Foundation through their Adopt-a-Wolf program. For $25 a year, you can adopt a wolf and receive a photo of your wolf, free admission to Wolf Hollow, and semi-annual reports on your wolf's status. For $125, you can adopt the whole pack. For more information about Wolf Hollow or the Adopt-a-Wolf program, contact:

The North American Wolf Foundation
114 Essex Road
Ipswich, MA 01938
Phone: (978) 356-0216
Fax: (978) 356-0724
www.wolfhollowipswich.com

Wolf Hollow is open to the public, weather permitting, on Saturdays and Sundays, and group reservations for 20 or more are accepted for Monday through Friday year round. Call for directions and to confirm hours.


Contents of this site, except where otherwise indicated, are © 2001 by Canis Max.