In the last week in February, a remarkable team of
reproductive specialists, veterinarians, biologists, local volunteers and Wolf Haven staff
gathered at our McCleery Ranch in Bridger, Montana. They arrived from across the country - many using personal vacation time - to assist in the catch-up, physical examination, genetic sampling and semen collection of some of the sanctuary male wolves, whose lineage has been maintained for nearly 100 years. As a highly inbred family, the generational inbreeding has had some deleterious effects on the animals. Recognizing the potential significance of this population, rather than letting them go "extinct", Wolf Haven is working with reproductive specialists to cryopreserve semen from as many males as possible so these genes will be maintained in perpetuity.
Twenty people were involved in this effort to catch-up, vaccinate, de-worm, remove old ear tags,administer flea medication and draw blood for genetic samples. Working in bone-chilling -6 degree temperatures and using sleeping bags on the floor at night, the group was able to catch up eight wolves and collect semen from seven of them. It was an incredible display of teamwork and professionalism and we are grateful to everyone involved in this project.