Founded in 1977, The California Wolf Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit wildlife education center committed to increasing public awareness and understanding of the importance of all wildlife by focusing on the history, biology, behavior, and ecology of the gray wolf (Canis lupus). This is accomplished by offering engaging educational presentations, participating in conservation programs, and hosting and funding research on both captive and free-ranging wolves.
Our facility is home to several packs of gray wolves, some of which are exhibited for educational purposes. Seeing our resident ambassador wolves helps people form a bridge of understanding and heightens interest in conserving wolves in the wild.
Our ambassador pack of Alaskan gray wolves is an intact pack that retains its wild nature. This allows thousands of visitors each year to observe the natural social interactions that occur in wild wolf packs. It also gives students and researchers opportunities to learn valuable information about wolf behavior.
We also host highly endangered Mexican gray wolves, now being reintroduced into the southwestern United States. Mexican wolves once roamed Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and western Texas in the US all the way down to Mexico City in Mexico, but government-sponsored eradication programs almost wiped out this distinct subspecies of North American gray wolf. In the mid-1970's, only seven unrelated Mexican wolves were available to start a captive breeding program. Today, as a result of that successful breeding program, there are approximately 50 free-ranging Mexican wolves living in the wild. However, they remain one of the rarest land mammals in the world.
The California Wolf Center participates in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, a bi-national effort to help Mexican wolves recover in the wild. We are one of the largest breeding and host facilities for Mexican gray wolves in the United States.
Most of the Center's Mexican gray wolf packs reside in spacious, off-exhibit enclosures that help prepare them for potential release into the wild. Retaining their wild nature by keeping them off-exhibit will help them to survive if they are selected for release into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in New Mexico and Arizona. The Mexican wolves that are not candidates for release or breeding are on limited display during some of our educational programs. This gives visitors the extraordinary opportunity to view the distinctive physical features of this unique subspecies of gray wolf.