No, it's clearly not the same as travelling across the world to see wolves in their natural habitat, but it's close. The large enclosures give the wolves a fair amount of space: the foot or so next to the perimeter fences is trodden down of course, but the rest of their terrain remains relatively unspoilt - you wouldn't think from (some!) photographs that they weren't taken in the wild. I went on a photography day, organised by Bob Brind-Surch and he clearly has not just an affinity for wildlife but a close working relationship with the UKWCT, not to mention his photographic expertise and help.
I was impressed by the fact that even though I arrived very early, staff were already there and offering a welcome cup of coffee and they put on a video to fill the time until everyone else arrived. That the staff clearly loved their job, their wolves and showed such respect for the animals in their care. That it is non-commercial: yes, there is a shop, but to buy anything you had to approach a staff member, no-one was waiting there just to take your money. To explain non-commercial, the UKWCT regards their animals as ambassadors for their species and their aim/purpose is to raise money to support wolf conservation in the wild in areas that still have wild wolves, those wolves invariably being under human threat.
Loving wolves as I do, it sent a shiver down my spine to get put of the car and see a wolf about a metre away, come over to see the new arrival. I am not sure about walking with wolves. Even the ones that can be walked with are still semi-wild and need two staff members to manage them and, as the staff are so respectful, the wolves just do as they please. Being eyeball to eyeball to a wolf, albeit through a wire fence, seeing that calm inspection of you, that majesty of deportment, is sufficient.
Highly recommended if you love wolves and cannot afford to travel half the world for a chance to glimpse them in the world. And you contribute to their conservation.
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