For Immediate Release
Diane Gallegos, Executive Director
360.264.4695 x221 or
Kim Young, Director of Communications
360.264.4695 x 217 / 360.704.9440 (cell)
Wolf Haven International
Wolf Haven International Acquires McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation
Montana-based wolf sanctuary founded in 1920

Some of the wolves in their enclosure at feeding time
Some of the Montana wolves in their enclosure at feeding time

TENINO, WA- Wolf Haven International has acquired the McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation located in Bridger, Montana. The transfer of ownership includes 33 captive wolves, property home and outbuildings. Wolf Haven will manage the McCleery facility as a satellite sanctuary, allowing the wolves to continue receiving the best care while living out their lives in their current homes.

The McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation was founded in 1920 by Dr. E. H. McCleery in
View of property and home.
an effort to save the remaining U.S. buffalo wolves (Canis lupus nubilus) from extinction.  Between 1920 and 1930, Dr. McCleery purchased more than 20 wild wolves from the government, zoos and trappers. The wolves remained in captivity and were allowed to continue breeding.

In the last few years of Dr. McCleery's life, he was assisted by a man named Jack Lynch. When Dr. McCleery died, Lynch took over the operations and relocated the preserve to Gardiner, WA and then Montana. Following Lynch's death in 2006, his wife Mary cared for the wolves, until her passing in 2016.  Temporarily relocating to Bridger, Montana, her son and daughter-in-law, Ed and Terry Wheeler, have provided care for the 33 remaining wolves over  the last two years 

Transfer Objectives

Assuming responsibility for the McCleery wolves provides Wolf Haven an opportunity
Transfer of ownership
Transfer of ownership
to allow these non-socialized wolves to spend their remaining years in their current location. 
Wolf Haven will arrange for cryopreservation to fulfill the Foundation's mission of preserving the DNA of the buffalo wolf lineage from 1920. The property will also be proposed as a future prerelease facility in support of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP). 

We are deeply honored that the Wheelers and the Foundation Board have entrusted Wolf Haven to care for the wolves to whom Ed's mother, her late husband, Jack Lynch, and the original founder, Dr. McCleery, dedicated their lives.  Wendy Spencer, our sanctuary director, has been temporarily reassigned to the Montana location. The Montana facility will remain closed to the public and the remaining wolves will not be allowed to continue breeding.

About Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve and
Transfer of ownership
Wendy tosses chicken to wolf
protect wolves and their habitat. For 36 years, Wolf Haven has rescued and provided lifetime sanctuary for 250 animals. We participate in two SSP programs for endangered species: 1) Mexican wolf and 2) red wolf. SSP programs are partnerships between captive facilities, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wolf Haven is accredited by both the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and the American Sanctuary Association (ASA).