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17 Reviews
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May 1, 2014

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May 1, 2014

I have had a lifelong fascination with wolves, but I did not get to Wolf Park to feed that interest until I was in my 60s and lived many states away. I'm sorry I waited that long, but it was more than worth the wait. The magnificent animals who live and thrive there, along with the dedicated, enthusiastic and well-educated staff who are more than willing to share their knowledge with others, made my 3-day visit more than I ever imagined possible. What I learned was remarkable, though not surprisingly the highlight of the journey was quality time spent up close with the wolves themselves. I've been a card carrying, paid-up member of Wolf Park ever since. I donate when I can, and look forward to my next visit!
April 19, 2014

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April 19, 2014

Wolf Park made my dream come true. When I was about 7 years old my class took a field trip up to the park, and they debunked all the fairytale horror stories that surrounded wolves. I instantly fell in love with those "huge dogs" behind the fence and desperately wanted to pet one. I spent the next 11 years learning everything that I could about wolves, even going so far as to travel out to Yellowstone twice in hopes that I'd see a wild wolf. I was lucky enough to catch a quick glimpse of one through some binoculars, and though it was super cool to see a wolf in its natural habit, I still had that wish to pet one.

When I turned 18, I was able to sponsor a wolf at Wolf Park and go into her enclosure. The staff did an amazing job preparing me before I went in, showing me a video of wolf body/facial expressions and how to act around the animals. They took great care to make sure that I was safe as well as making sure the animal was comfortable. The specific wolf that I sponsored was a very shy girl who preferred to keep her distance from new comers. The staff informed me that there was a very good chance that she wouldn't come up to me and that they wouldn't force her. I accepted this, and as I entered the enclosure I kept my distance from her and knelt on the ground as I was instructed. The staff waited next to me, calling to her a bit (she loved the staff members who had come into the enclosure with me, so she was debating the pros and cons of coming over to us ;) ). Eventually she worked up the courage to come over, sniff me, and let me pet her. I would have never gotten to have such a wonderful experience if it hadn't been for the amazing staff at this truly unique park.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

I Volunteered at Wolf Park in April 2013 after months of searching for such a park, I had found many reviews on websites that promoted Wolf Park's research and their experiences.

I met so many awesome and amazing people during my short stay, ones that i could never forget.


Working with the Wolves was one of the best experiences of my life, especially the puppies (Fiona, Bicho and Kanti) whom turned 1 year old during my stay, massive birthday celebrations took place around the whole park.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

This non-profit has no faults what so ever, they are so dedicated to the promotion of canid species is unbelievable

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

My first experience at Wolf Park was as an intern. I can honestly say that I have never met a group of people more dedicated to education about wild canids (wolves, foxes, and coyotes). The Park goes above an beyond what is necessary and/or required for public safety while also ensuring that visitors get to see wild canids up close. I would recommend a visit to Wolf Park to anyone. For those who want to learn a little more, volunteer and internship opportunities are well worth it.
March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

I first became familiar with Wolf Park when I took my young son for a visit in the mid 1990s. We took the tour and came back later for Howl Night. As an animal lover, I have very high standards when it comes to the care of captive animals. What I saw and heard impressed me. Every aspect of my visit was highly positive. The animal care staff was knowledgeable about the species and about the individual animal and the animals' best interests were always the top priority. We returned a number of times and when new neighbors moved in across the street, I brought their children to Wolf Park.

I am a teacher and Wolf Park became a favorite place for field trips. The staff provided detailed, educational information about wolf behavior in the wild and in captivity. They educated my students on the true nature of wolves as opposed to the wolf in fiction.

In the spring of 2012, I received an email at school indicating that Wolf Park was seeking a Head Camp Counselor to direct their summer camp program. I knew it was an excellent summer job for me and two hours later, I placed my resume on the desk at Wolf Park. I was thrilled to be offered the position. This summer, I look forward to my third summer running the camps at Wolf Park and educating children about wolves.

When camp is not in session, I volunteer at the Park. I've had many opportunities to observe human-animal interactions and I continue to be very impressed by the staff's dedication to the well-being of the wolves, coyotes, foxes and bison. The founder of Wolf Park, Dr. Klinghammer, believed that when you keep an animal in captivity, it is your responsibility to provide environmental enrichment to keep the animals mentally stimulated and happy. These enriching activities take place throughout the year and are great fun for humans and animals alike.

Wolf Park has a large (almost 7 acre) main pack enclosure as well as smaller enclosures in the East Lake Retirement Center. Since Wolf Park takes outstanding care of the wolves, they live very long lives and just like humans may need assisted living as they age, the animals often need a place to retire apart from the main pack. The staff is dedicated to providing all the care the animal needs to be healthy and comfortable. The animals receive vet care throughout their lives.

Wolf Park is a world renowned wolf research facility conducting behavioral research. Animal science majors from universities around the world travel to Wolf Park to learn about canis lupus. One of the most extensive libraries of books, research papers and audio/visual materials on wolves are available for these students.

I just can't say enough good things about the park. The large numbers of dedicated volunteers and interns speaks volumes about the quality of care they give to the animals. Visit the park, take a tour, howl with the wolves, attend a seminar, attend a special event and send your children to summer camp at Wolf Park. You will walk away with a new appreciation of the wolf and their importance to the environment.
March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

I was lucky enough to take part in Wolf Park's Internship Programme in summer 2003. I spent 3 months working for the park and learning about wolf behaviour, ecology, recovery and conservation. I also had the amazing opportunity to work with a hugely dedicated team of staff members who are passionate about the conservation and protection of this species. They work tirelessly to promote understanding of this sometimes controversial animal with the ambassador wolves that live there. They provide a unique education resource for many and have visitors travel from all over the world to see their work and learn from their research.

Home to wolves, foxes, coyotes and bison, Wolf Park is easily one of the best facilities I have seen and had the pleasure of working for.

They provide tours, lectures and a huge range of courses to help people better understand behaviour. For a lucky few, there is also the opportunity to interact with some of the wolves at the park to further this understanding and connection.

I have revisited the park 4 times in 2007, 2010, 2011 & 2013 (travelling from the UK each time) both to volunteer and conduct research into what visitors learn from their experience there. You can find more details about my recent interviews which were conducted at the park via my blog:

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/managing-wolves-an-interview-with-dana-drenzek-from-wolf-park/

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/wolf-park-what-the-visitors-think/

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/wolf-park-a-volunteers-perspective/

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/a-day-with-wolves/

Wolf Park is a very special place and one which has had a lasting impact on my life and career choices. I would not hesitate to visit again.
http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/an-interview-with-patrick/

http://wildlifebyjo.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/a-day-with-wolves-and-pat-goodmann/

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add an outreach programme! :)

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

As a former volunteer at Wolf Park, I can recommend the Park to everyone. The Park makes every effort to properly educate the public in wolf behaviour. I learned so very much while there. So many people work so hard to be sure all of the animals are kept healthy and happy. I treasure the 7 years I was there and still miss the animals and staff.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

I was an intern for three months during 2004 and it was an amazing and very educational time. The resident staff is extremely knowledgable in the field of animal behaviour and I learned so much about ethological studies in general and canine behaviour in particular. They offered guided tours, behaviour demonstrations, wolf-bison interaction demo (which most often was the best opportunity to watch both wolves and bison eating apples (tossed to the bison) side by side, as the bison are too big for 2-3 wolves to handle in the middle of the day) and the ever popular Howl Night that attracted solid crowds every Friday and Saturday evening. I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work and study in such wonderful settings!

After my stay at Wolf Park, I conducted an environmental enrichment study on a captive pack of wolves at a zoo in the U.K. as a part of my degree. Those wolves were non-socialized and the difference in behavioural spectra between the UK and Wolf Park wolves was striking. The wolves in the UK hardly did anything but run to the far-end of their enclosure when visitors passed by and had almost no interactions among the pack during visiting hours. It was extremely rare to see them at a full rest with their head down, lying on their sides. This was ABSOLUTELY NOT the case with the wolves at Wolf Park, where we were able to observe relaxed wolves, interactive behaviours and it wasn't until I spent time at the other zoo that I fully realised how much these animals benefit from being socialized when in a captive setting.

Having socialized animals opens up a whole new tool box for keeping captive animals from getting bored in their surroundings, something that is often painfully obvious in traditional zoos. At Wolf Park, staff can interact with the wolves and apply some training methods to keep the wolves interested and enriched and relaxed around human presence. This is key to keep stress levels low and stereotypic behaviours at bay. Cortisol analyses of Wolf Park wolves compared to non-socialized wolves also confirmed that non-socialized wolves are much more stressed. I'm glad to say that zoos in Sweden have started to catch up and the use of, for example, clicker-training based exercises to provide behavioural enrichment is becoming ever more common also among non-socialized animals.
The canine behaviour lessons and the training methods that I learned at Wolf Park have held up all these years, also in my role as a dog owner. I can recommend attending seminars and training courses that Wolf Park organizes as you are likely to come out the other end much more knowledgable and with new perspectives on animal behaviour and animal handling.

Wolf Park provides a great visitor experience, a quite unique opportunity to observe wolves behaving like wolves, and the opportunity to learn an immense amount about wolves and canine behaviour! I would recommend it to each and everyone who have ever considered going there, as visitors and/or as interns, practicums and volunteers.
March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

When I moved to the Lafayette area in late 2004 to work at Purdue (Biomedical), I saw signs for Wolf Park and went to visit over the Christmas Holidays. In years past, I had visited and been a sponsor at other wolf-related facilities, so knew a bit about wolves, behavior studies, ecology, and more. By the time my tour ended, I was impressed enough that I signed up as a volunteer that day.

The facility has acreage not only to support it's main pack in style, but to provide a retirement community and a buffer against future urban growth. Unlike the wild, where adult wolves who are forced out of the pack (essentially to die) for reasons of age or social incompatibility, Wolf Park provides space where they can live long and happy lives. While it can't allow dispersal by young wolves to create new packs, it can provide the opportunity for evolving pack dynamics to take place. While the evolving main pack makes use of the large enclosure (app. 7 acres), those voted out of the pack have enclosures of varying sizes to allow them to form mini-packs or be by themselves. Smaller enclosures are used for those elderly or sick so they don't have to move far for food or water, while allowing staff and volunteers to monitor them closely. Larger enclosures can easily handle groups of three or even four at need; and, it should be noted that those in the retirement community get to choose their companions.

Wolf Park has also been in the forefront of efforts to prevent inbreeding not just at the Park, but at wolf facilities nationwide. Despite any ignorant comments you may read, the wolves at Wolf Park do not come from a single pair. If you listen, or do even a small bit of research online, you will find that Wolf Park is part of a network that shares both genealogical information on the wolves, as well as wolf pups, with other accredited facilities. This helps ensure a lack of inbreeding as well as helping other facilities with responsible breeding and growth.

Sadly, the wolf-bison demonstrations at Wolf Park have been halted due to what I personally regard as yet another ignorant complaint (complaint may have been filed by someone who never visited the Park). In the wild, it usually takes six or more adult wolves to bring down even a small, sick, or injured bison. At Wolf Park, the practice was to take a couple of wolves in with the bison so they could act on their natural instincts to track, explore, and do the opening phases of how they would hunt in the wild. This allowed them a more natural life, posed effectively no danger to the bison, and minimal danger to the wolves. It did not seem to stress the bison on the days they agreed to take part, and I would note that many days the wolves either preferred to explore and hunt smaller game (moles, voles, and mice) or both parties seemed to feel it was too hot to do anything other than cool off in the water. Bison watering troughs make dandy wolf swimming pools as it turns out. There is a LOT more I could say on this subject, and if you are interested the staff can go into detail on activities, studies, and more if you want facts rather than emotions.

A great deal of research does take place in the park, and if you actually listen to what is said, you can find out about those published studies. These range from studies on other canids (foxes and coyotes) to intelligence tests on the wolves. The behavior studies (ethology for the uninformed) are a backbone of the research undertaken by Park founder, the late Erich Klinghammer. In fact, if you actually listen to what is said, you might find that several leaders in wolf conservation and study efforts got their start at Wolf Park, at least one rather well-known (and respected) researcher was himself a puppy "mom" many years back.

If you want to hold to romantic and ignorant notions of wolves as paragons of virtue, monogamous, and other tripe, then Wolf Park is not the place for you.

If you actually care to listen and learn, and deal with facts, then you can learn a great deal about wolf behavior, language, and how some of that translates to other canids including dogs. We can and do get them to howl, but also note that there is often a fairly regular and set amount of time that passes between howling sessions. Want to know more about it, then ask and I'm sure that any staff member or volunteer will tell you all you want to know about what we jokingly refer to as "recharging the howl battery." In fact, if you have questions we are very good about getting those answered by people who have decades of experience with wolves and animal behavior. Want to learn even more? Then sign up for one of the many special lectures and sessions done by staff and outside experts in everything from wolves to dog training.

There is much to learn at Wolf Park if you will listen and participate. Bring a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and be willing to consider new information, and you will have a great time and come away much the richer. If not, that's your loss and harmful to real efforts to save and protect our environment.

Oh, and to answer the question I'm most often asked at the Park: do I trust the wolves? Yes, I do. I trust them to be wolves, and treat them with the respect and care that deserves. Only a fool (or the sadly underinformed) would try to treat them as a dog, or think that we do so. To answer the second-most asked question, I personally do think they have a sense of humor, and it is low (gotcha). There have been no formal studies in this regard, so my take is purely anecdotal, but...

Come listen, learn, and make up your own mind about the Park and the questions of the day.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

more

March 29, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

I was accepted as an extern in March 2013. A place with wolves, coyotes, foxes, bisons, big field and friendly people is just awesome. The staffs and senior volulnteers are all welcoming and willing to give us full assisstance. We were offered lots of chances to participate in daily park-maintaining activities, from ground cleaning to interacting with wolves. I felt considered and well-treated as an amateur and non-native English speaker (I came from Taiwan). It's a wonderful place and I have arranged my second visit!
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