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California Wolf Center celebrates 45th Anniversary

The next time you head to the mountains, feed a Julian apple to a gray wolf!

JULIAN, Calif. — If you're planning a trip to the mountains this fall season you could share a delicious Julian apple with a gray wolf. In this Zevely Zone, I visited the California Wolf Center. Julian may be best known for its apple pie and downtown district, but just six miles away you can break away from the pack at the California Wolf Center. 

Despite opening in 1977, the California Wolf Center has kept a quiet footprint much like their incredible animals. "Most people don't know that we have wolves here, wild wolves, but they are in enclosures," said Theresa Kosen. She is the center's new executive director who wants to share her joy with San Diego. "I mean they are so beautiful to look at and they are so interesting to watch," said Theresa.  

Credit: California Wolf Center

A new live webcam means San Diegans can watch the wolves from home or visit in person during events like Howl-o-Ween which was celebrated for the first-time last year.

Credit: California Wolf Center

"Our staff dressed up and visitors dressed up and everybody howled," said Theresa. The California Wolf Center dedicates itself to returning wild wolves to nature, as well as educating the public about the critically endangered population. "So, we have three wolves in this habit. We have Thor, Emma and Durango," said Ciera MacIsaac. Caring for wolves has been a lifelong commitment for Ciera. "Came from a family where my dad was military, my mom was a stay-at-home mom. No one in my family interested in this field," said Ciera.


Credit: California Wolf Center

But after laying eyes on these majestic creatures Ciera wanted to not only fight for them, but against the stereotype that every one is a Big Bad Wolf. "And they are not. They are actually very family oriented animals which I don't think a lot of people know. They also are very scared of people," said Ciera.  

Credit: California Wolf Center

This is the time of year when San Diegans flock to Julian to eat apple pie, but what if you did break away from the pack? "It's apple time," said Ciera. "It's raining apples for apple season." Wolves like apples, but they prefer meat. "Look at her, that chunk of chicken is about ten pounds. Did you see that ten pounds!" said Theresa and Ciera.  

For dessert? "Wild boar ribs," said Ciera. The wolves were too busy eating, but we thought that was something howl about. "Whoooooooo," we howled!!

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The California Wolf Center is celebrating their 45th anniversary this year. The education and research facility is home to 29 wolves in six packs, including 25 Mexican gray wolves and four North American gray wolves. Several of the wolves are exhibited for educational purposes, while others are part of a program to be reintroduced into the wild in the southwestern U.S. and need to have limited human contact to ensure their success.

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More information can be found on the organization’s website, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.


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