Let us introduce you to wild wolves, which are not endemic to South Africa, but have arrived here over a period of time. The wolf is being used by some unscrupulous breeders to crossbreed with dogs, in the hope that these cross-breeds will supposedly become better guard dogs. This is so far from the truth as to be ridiculous. The wild wolf is naturally a very shy animal, keeping very much to himself, tending to avoid humans whenever possible. Having said this, yes, like all creatures when you put them into abnormal situations, such as tiny enclosures, keep them as a single animal instead of their natural habit of packs, they will sometimes start to display “abnormal behavior” and often end up being shot! Our sanctuary would to a large extent prevent this.
As strange as it may seem – there are wolves in South Africa. Though not indigenous to our country, they have managed to thrive, thanks to their high adaptability – though not without undue stress and trauma!
Allow us to take a few minutes of your time in order to dissolve some myths – straighten out some facts and instill you with a new appreciation for a sorely misunderstood creature. It is our privilege to be the caretakers of a species of wild animals not indigenous to South Africa, about which very little is known or understood by South Africans in general.
Many of our perceptions of wolves stem from the sound of the wolf howl! This eerie sound is represented in stories – folklore – fiction – myths & legends. Which one of us did not feel sympathy for the “Three little pigs” when “persecuted by the Big Bad Wolf”? In these stories and fables, wolves are usually presented as being cunning, evil, and conniving creatures. “Cry wolf”, “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, throw it to the wolves” “wolf at the door” – all of these phrases send a shiver up our spine and can instill fear in the heart of even the bravest.
Through education, The Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary hopes to change these perceptions, so that one can view wolves for the wonderful creatures they are. Few animals carry characteristics that humans hold in high regard – strong family structures and the education of their young
Wolves, having once enjoyed the freedom to roam vast plains in their homelands, are now forced into captivity here in South Africa; tied up in backyards, chained to “running wires” and enclosed in electrified fenced enclosures. The sad reality is that we can NEVER send them back home! The wolves in our sanctuary have been brought up in domestic environments and they have no experience of living in the wild.
There is no denying the numerous other environmental issues and species subjected to all manner of pressures and problems in conservation in South Africa. On the domestic side, read the papers and witness the hundreds of animals being given away for adoption or sold, as owners no longer want them or can no longer care for them. Unscrupulous breeders continuing to create hybrids for sale as exotic pets exacerbate this problem. This is one of the reasons The Lupus Foundation was established was as a result of wolf and wolf-dog owners not knowing what to do with their animals once they reached sexual maturity. The irresponsibility lies with the people that brought the first lot of wolves into SA in the first place. We are taking responsibility where others are unable or unwilling to do so. Wolves were brought into this country, more than 20 years ago, at a time when wolves were listed on appendix ii of CITES and were endangered – and still are!
Wolf Haven International in America has stated, “The proponents of these practices (the sale of wolves and hybrids) earn considerable financial gain from the exploitation of these animals and are thus unwilling to disclose the actual facts”, and “Socialised or domesticated wolves can never and SHOULD NEVER – UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be returned to the wild”. Wolf scientists around the world echo this opinion.
The Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary is a self-funded private project. Our outreach, educational programs, and sanctuary are supported by donations, the sale of tickets and merchandise.
Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary is NOT affiliated or linked in any way to any other wolf sanctuaries in South Africa.
Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary was the first Wolf Sanctuary in South Africa and is registered with Nature Conservation.