We Love the Big Bad Wolf
Much has happened at LARC since our last Newsletter. LARC has finally found the right person to manage our e-newsletter, social media, and online presence. So you will be hearing from us more often! During the last few months, LARC has been in a battle over the lives of a hundred privately owned wolves in Minnesotta. In addition, to this important landmark case, LARC has moved twenty-nine of our elderly residents from our East Coast facility to LARC. Also in the last few months, LARC has been planning one of its largest anti-poaching, anti-trapping wolf campaigns to date. This year, we are not only bringing the Veterans, the equipment, and the cameras to capture it all, but we are going to be taking a birds eye view...
If this is your first Newsletter, or your 50th, we want to welcome you to the home of the Big Bad Wolf and our Feathered Friends and we apologize for not being in touch with you sooner. We missed you!
Warriors and Wolves
Why we choose to protect the wolf
The wolf came out from the wilderness and became our protector and it is time we in-turn prevent their extinction and save our planet at the same time. That is why we enroll combat veterans in our “Warriors and Wolves” program. This program was recently featured in a documentary by Italian director Ricccardo Ferraris and we hope to see it in a theater sometime soon!
The back-to-nature healing approach utilized at our sanctuary for wolves, wolfdogs, coyotes and foxes speaks to the kinship between two coursing predators - the wolf and the combat veteran. As the wounded veterans care for the similarly traumatized predator they heal each other. With so many veterans coming back from combat and killing themselves there needs to be more ways of reaching out to them and saving them. Many of the veterans at LARC recover by caring for these animals and from that is born a desire to speak for the wild wolf and protect this often maligned and misunderstood animal. Being imbedded in the wilderness to prevent illegal poaching gives each Veteran a chance to pay it forward to the wolf since one of his or her relatives very possibly saved the veteran’s life at LARC.
Veterans fight for our country and our freedom - and nowadays many of these veterans are coming home and realizing that they also want to fight for the wild that still exists in this country.
Pictured here is one of our veterans who did six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is shown with Alex, a high content wolfdog, who came to LARC from NEWARC (see below).
Big Rescue Update
Legality raging against morality
In a previous newsletter we alluded to a very big potential rescue LARC was to embark on, however, we have been on hold waiting for a lingering legal case that seems to be coming to a close. Since late 2016, LARC has been at the ready. LARC has constructed 90 transport crates, built new outdoor habitats, and been activiely involved in pushing the leagl case to a close.
The county has sited the owner for county zoning ordinances, illegal housing of certain species, and begun the process of documenting all the animals so that accountability is upheld and removal possible.
Of course, we will keep our supporters updated and announce the Wolf Victory when appropriate (paws crossed).
A LARC elder gets a home visit
Surgery at Home
Sometimes you have to bring the mountain to Muhammed. Shane is an elderly, grouchy wolfdog, who does not like restraint or transportaton. We learned that when we transported him from New Hampshire to LARC. However, another long winter in the Northeast was not something we were going to put him through either. His arthritis was just making it too hard for him to get around especially when the snow would freeze for months on end.
So when Shane got a wound on the side of his face from an infected bug bite, we brought Dr. Molnar out for the day. Since this was a minor wound that only needed a few sutures, we decided to have bedside wolfdog care. Here you see Shane, the Veterans, a vet tech, Dr. Molnar, and half of his hospital equipment, working on Shane right outside of his enclosure. It's important to weigh all the traumas that go into the life and care of each specific wolfdog and the three hour car ride, crating up and transportation, seemed too much to put this old soul through again. So we brought the hospital to him.
Uncle Sam Wants You!
A predator chooses a caregiver
The Veterans at LARC are supported by other Veterans who are further along in the program in a “peer to peer” approach at the sanctuary. Over time, the new Veterans become more familiar with the facility and more comfortable around the animals. Along with this support of other wounded heroes participating in the “Warriors and Wolves” program is the comfort garnered from caring for a wolf or a wolfdog and seeing them come out of their shells and seek companionship.
Unlike domesticated dogs (who are bred to be at our feet), one of the free spirited wolves at LARC, over time, approaches one of our Veteran caregivers and chooses him or her to be part of the pack. This is when the healing really begins. Feelings of trust, acceptance and compassion develop and also generalize from animals to others. Veterans who have been estranged from their families due to trauma and resultant self medication with drugs are reunited, families are strengthened and the model for living as a healthy pack is passed along. Wolves are great role models!
Pictured here is Cameron, just before he left for Basic Training, with lovely Sheba.
Wolfdog and Coyote
Much like the story of the Big Bad Wolf, we've been told since we were kids that wolves and coyotes are mortal enemies. What we've realized here at LARC is that they are sentient beings, who when afforded the freedom to choose, choose friendships that are not conspecific, choose mealtimes that have nothing to do with night or day, and share their lives with some of the most unexpected friends. In the photo to the left, you will see Wiley the Wolfdog being greeted by Katie (CoyCoy) as he enters her natural, outdoor habitat for an afternoon of playtime - you can see the joy on her face when she sees her friend. Many of the relationships at LARC are animal-driven. Whether it's animal to animal, animal to human, we allow our residents to dictate their emotional and physical needs and strive to provide the best habitat for their overall development and growth. At times, this may mean a coyote plays with a wolfdog - Tag, You're it.
The State of Washington is KILLING AGAIN!
Nothing is Learned from a Corpse
The State of Washington once again has decided that wolf conservation is done by killing wolves. Leg-hold traps, shotgun blast of pellets laced with arsenic, a tortured agonizing death all while being hazed by a helicopter. Maybe we don't have all the information that went into making the decision to kill the wolves but we feel there are nonlethal methods to stop wolves from eating cows.
The last thing we would want is to take a wild wolf into captivity at our sanctuary but we believe that is better than a cruel death and we have made that offer once again to the head of Washington's Department Fish and Wildlife (WFW), Jim Unsworth.
Our readers may recall we did this same thing last year for the Profanity Peak Wolf Pack in Eastern Washington. We flew to Ferry County and got approval from local law enforcement and city councilmembers. But the WFW Dept refused to give us permission to remove the wolves from the state. It seemed they preferred to have them dead. And spend $700,000 of taxpayer money to hunt down, torture, and kill the pack. They plan to do the same again with the Smackout Pack and we are offering an alternative once again. We hope that the Department will back down on taking out members of the pack, like they did last year with the Profanity Peak pack when several members were allowed to live because there were no more cows found dead. (But that was also because the rancher had brought in his cattle for the winter.) That was why LARC backed down - we much rather see the wolves be free as long as there is no Kill Order placed on their heads.
Nothing is learned from a corpse! If the alleged slander against the wolves is true, and they are an aggressive pack of cow killers, shouldn't they be taken alive, looked at in a sanctuary setting, and examined to see if there is a rogue wolf gene? Or should we get serious and recognize that the forests in that area are unhealthy and the normal prey for wolves are moving closer to towns and the cows are grazing very close to wolf habitat, many on public lands. The wolves do not have the resources they used to which leads to livestock depredation. Why not do what the State of California is proposing for wolf reintroduction and protection. Two new wolf packs have been located in this state and the Department of Fish and Wildlife in California states - "No wolves will be hunted." Congratulations to California's new wolf packs - and hopefully many more to come!
What we propose is to realize we must learn to live with the wolf and all other predators because that is what keeps our ecosystem healthy.
LARC is looking for your support in a rescue effort geared towards the Smackout Wolf Pack.
If you want to make a phone call in support of LARC's rescue plan which has been sent in writing to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, please call Jim Unsworth (360-902-2225) or (360-902-2234) reference LARC and the rescue plan. If that doesn't work, follow us on Facebook.com - the campaign will get started soon.
NEWARC on the move
Moving to Sunny So Cal
In the photo to the right, you see Mariah. Up until this week, she was a resident at NEWARC. She, along with her two packmates, are being transferred to LARC as we speak. LARC has sent a transport vehicle and our veterans are working with our NEWARC veterinarian to fill out all of the appropriate paperwork to get Mariah and her packmates to their outdoor enclosure just completed at LARC.
Twenty-nine of the other NEWARC wolfdogs were moved back in December and bringing them to LARC is a culmination of months of work. The older animals and their packmates needed to be moved to the California facility so that they can be provided a somewhat warmer and shorter winter, and more direct staff care for a senior's needs.
Emerald in her new home
The elders get warmer winters at LARC
LARC has received the final plans for the renovations of the NEWARC facility. The new indoor/outdoor renovations will provide indoor feeding and indoor sleeping as needed by a wolf or wolfdog - a climate controlled area for those who choose it. After three years at NEWARC, it became very clear to both the staff and management that renovations needed to take place in order to provide the best protection from the winters possible.
NEWARC inherited many senior animals who are part dog and they cannot survive winters outdoors when they are harsh and unrelenting. Even though wolves live outdoors, of course, they are on the move all the time. That was why we moved the animals to LARC. But in order to bring them back to NEWARC they would need to have better weather protection.
With this renovation, we hope to offer the wolfdogs an area to retreat to and escape the harsh elements.
Because LARC has been preparing for the large rescue mentioned above, and another prospective rescue, our building of enclosures has been taking place at LARC and NEWARC 's renovations have not yet begun. That is one reason why Mariah and her pack are coming to LARC (see above).
Serenity Park Sanctuary
"Hey, I'm a star!"
Birds of a Feather
The parrots and veterans of Serenity Park are featured in both a documentary and a book that just got completed. The documentary was directed by Robby Kenner of "Food, Inc" fame and was the result of the brilliant article by Charles Seibert in the New York Times Magazine. Robby and his producer, Melissa, are shopping the documentary to various networks and film festivals. We hope you get to see it soon!
Founder of Serenity Park, our very own Doc Lindner, has just submitted her manuscript to her editor at St. Martin's Press in NY. The book was inspired by Charles Seibert's article and Lorin's life story with the parrots and veterans she loves.
Serenity Park is gearing up already, as are our volunteers, for our annual Veterans' Day Extravaganza. We will be teaming up with Operation Gratitude for the big gift giveaway and hope to have another 7,000 veterans served on that day as we did last year.
If you care to join us get on the bandwagon now!! Contact us at:
Metabolic Studios Visits
The photo below shows Rochelle of Metabolic Studio visiting LARC. Rochelle was able to join Matthew Simmons and the WolfGuard team at Descendants of the Earth for a Native American sweat lodge. The practice of sweat lodge is an intricate part of Veteran preparedness as they get ready to purify themselves and set off on a WolfGuard mission. This year's team left shortly after for a rescue. And we believe our success ties directly to our roots in the WolfNation. We thank our ancestors for connecting us back to nature.
Wolf History & Genetics
In the wolf world the question when rescuing an animal always comes up... Is that a pure wolf, a high content wolfdog, a mid-content, a low-content, etc - the discussion can go on forever judging by phenotype (what we see). This also addresses the behavior of the animal and which behavior is linked to the dog part of the genome and which part is linked to the wolf part of the equation. With the help of a researcher from MIT, a researcher from UMass, and all of LARC's rescue staff we hope to be able to understand the action of the dog and wolf genome on behavior of the animals at LARC. Of course, none of this research is invasive in any way. We hope to better understand what is a wolfdog genetically and behaviorally...and we will let you know!
LARC goes Solar
We all draw our own line in the sand. LARC chooses to do less harm. To follow this motto, we needed to limit our amount of electricity used since 70% of the electricity from the public utility companies is produced by using coal. LARC installed the largest solar array possible for our application and a battery back-up to help store additonal energy produced. LARC reduced our electric bill by 80%. We hope to bring the final bill to $0 by the end of 2017!
Gandolf the Grey
This article is simply here to highlight one of the greatest verbal communicators at LARC. Gandolf the Grey, as we call him in the summer, laughs, cackles and calls to the Veterans as they come along the backside of his enclosure under the grove of pinion pine trees. He runs up to the fence to present his toy of the day and entices even the most wounded of us to spend ten minutes sitting on the floor of his outdoor habitat playing toss or giving tickles. It should also be noted that he goes undercover in the winter and looks like a giant Q-tip. So be looking for his photos in the winter. White as snow.
Wow... A new ParrotBox!
With the help of Floyd, our tree trimming friend, we get large branches and stumps from all the trees trimmed around the VA campus.
Therefore, we encourage all the parrots at Serenity Park to chew up their branches and privacy boxes as much as they like. There is always more where that came from and it helps to trim their beaks while they are engaging in natural behaviors.
Privacy boxes were recently replaced for all the parrots at Serenity Park. These are built without bottoms so that nesting and egg laying is discouraged. There are plenty of parrots in need of new homes and there is no sense in creating more! But that doesn't mean the birds can't have a little private time!
A New Vision
LARC receives many request to bring Veterans to our unique place of healing. This year, we invited a group of blind Veterans from the Long Beach VA Healthcare Center to experience our work.
As seen in the photo below, Wiley our Ambassador, chose to spend time with the Veterans and aid them as they walked around the facility along with their seeing eye dogs. The howls, the yips, and the fur that tickled the tips of their hands, made this an experience that these Veterans will never forget. Since this visit, we have received numerous emails from the Long Beach VA Occupational Therapy Department that many of the Veterans who came that day can't wait to get back to LARC. Amongst them were a World War II veteran, a Vietnam Veteran, a Desert Storm/Desert Shield vet and several from OIF/OEF (Iraq/Afghanistan). We were honored to have them.
"Attention on Deck"
Mandy, standing like a drill sergant in her military pose, got ready for her photograph. Mandy, like many of the birds at Serenity Park, has found a forever home where she can fly, flock, and forage. These freedoms afforded to these intelligent, social, clever parrots makes for a full life. One where their choices impact their existence. No longer are they prevented from flying, thrown in a cage because of their beauty, and covered with a drop cloth because of the noise. Rather, we rejoice at Mandy's voice and allow her to fly. We hear her calls and the Veterans talk back to her - never is she forced into silence again.