Wolves are naturally afraid of humans. When it comes to fight or flight, they take off running – and for good reason! Between hunting and destroying their habitats, people have given wolves good reason to fear them. In Norway, wolf hunting has gotten so out of control that less than 30 of them are believed to remain in the wild! In fact, this past December, more than 11,571 people in Norway registered to hunt just 16 wolves. Sadly, many people in the country would be happy to see all the wolves go due to fear that the predators will attack their livestock (even though less than two percent of the country’s sheep are killed by wolves).

In what is a seriously misguided attempt to promote “conservation” of these animals, a Norwegian tourist attraction, known as Polar Park, offers visitors the chance to sleep and play with wolves. Besides the fact that sleeping with a wild animal is probably a really bad idea for your own safety, this kind of facility does nothing to help this struggling population.

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Polar Park breeds wolves in captivity and raises them among people so that they are comfortable around human beings. Photos on the Park’s Facebook page show visitors, including children, sharing kisses with wolves, even having wild foxes, and other animals climb on their backs. While the park claims this is all for conservation, the fact is that a wild animal raised in such close proximity to humans will never be able to return to the wild. A wolf that trusts humans will surely end up on a hunter’s trophy wall in this region. This mean that these animals will remain endangered in the wild.

12510315_1714352882117137_5768352441144795338_nPolar Park

 

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Rather than raising these wild animals for tourism attractions, we should be protecting them in their natural habitats. After all, wolves have and incredibly important role to play as apex predators that balanced our ecosystem. When we hunt them and drive them to oblivion, small animal populations grow out of control and overgrazed local shrubbery eventually leads to soil erosion and other serious problems. Sadly, if we don’t work to protect these animals in their own homes, seeing them in captivity may be the only way we’ll be able to see wolves at all.

Share this post and encourage others to boycott this facility and promote positive wolf conservation instead. It is up to us to save the wolf and its natural habitat – for their sake and our own.

Featured image source: Matthew Evers 

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