Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Struggling Celebrities in the Forest Lake/Ham Lake Area—The Carlos Avery Wolves




On a frigidly cold Saturday afternoon, a week or so before Christmas, my family and I took an opportunity and dropped by the Wildlife Science Center(WSC). We are fortunate to live quite close to this animal sanctuary and drive past its entrance just east of Lexington on Broadway daily. We made the stop after hearing that the center was struggling to make ends meet in the poor economy. They were having an open house to educate the public on their work as well as their plight.

According to the center’s website, they currently have quite menagerie of animals that call the Wildlife Science Center home. These Minnesota Wild animals include:



  • 43 gray wolves
  • 10 red wolves
  • 5 hybrids
  • 2 Lynx
  • 1 red fox
  • 1 skunk
  • 1 porcupine
  • 7 birds of prey
  • 3 bears
  • 2 gray fox
  • 3 raccoons
  • 2 New Guinea Highland Dogs
On our visit we were told that the dogs had the job of running around the yard in an effort to provide exercise for the wolves.

We took bit of a self guided tour but also stopped and talked for awhile to one of the volunteers. She pointed out to us the wolves, Truck and Growly Pants, that were the stars of the
Animal Planet special, “Growing Up Wolf”. Another notorious wolf resident was relocated from up north to the WSC after attacking Minnesota Explorer, Will Steger’s dogs. If not for the sanctuary, the wolf would have been most likely put down. We asked about the dogs and were told that they were resident to keep run around the outsides of the cages and exercise the wolves as they would chase them.
As we continued to walk around the center, we marveled at the differences in the wolf packs. Suddenly, we don’t know what started it but all heck broke loose and all of the wolves started racing around their enclosures and howling. It went on for several minutes and was hilarious! I have heard this sound many times before in my front yard about 3-4 miles away but never was at the center of it all.

Every weekend there is an opportunity to stop by and tour the Wildlife Science Center and see the animals. About once a month there is a special event with fun names like the Canine Carnival and Howl-O-Ween. From school field trips to the summer Wolf Camp, the center serves as a wonderful scientific resource within our community. If you would like to learn more about the WSC and how you can help the wolves, visit the WSC website and donation wish list.


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