(DIVIDE, Colo.) – The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center welcomed a pair of American Red Wolves to the grounds on Sept. 21. 

Red Wolves are a critically endangered species with less than 20 left in the wild.

“It is very exciting for us because we are actually the first facility in the state of Colorado to house Red Wolves,” said Erika Moore, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center Assistant Director. 

Through the Saving Animals from Extinction Program, the center was able to welcome a pair of Red Wolves to the grounds. 

“Not only do we get the opportunity to now educate Colorado and visitors about Red Wolves, but it opens up space at the facility that they came from to be able to pair new wolves to continue breeding,” said Moore.

The pair of wolves named Shawnee and Van Gogh are ten-years-old and just retired from a breeding program.

“So Shawnee and Van Gogh came from Fossil Rim Wildlife in Texas and the breeding program is helping to boost the wild population of Red Wolves,” said Moore. 

Moore explained that the wolves already received the names before coming to the center.

“Van Gogh, as you might be thinking, is named because he is missing an ear which was something that happened in his puppyhood,” said Moore. “It causes him no difficulty in his life and it gives him a cute little personality.”

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is working to ensure the Red Wolves are comfortable with people outside of their enclosure.

“We are slowly getting them used to people from outside their enclosure just to make sure that they’re not too uncomfortable with it and putting them in a situation that they don’t want to be,” said Moore. “But allowing them to be curious enough that people who come visit can see them.”

In terms of care, Moore said the Red Wolves will receive yearly checks to make sure they are healthy.

Now, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is at capacity with 19 wolves on the grounds.

“Since we are the only state, we hold ourselves accountable for educating about the species and making sure that people come here to see them, understand the importance of what they’re looking at, what they can do to help that wild population, as well as wolves in general,” said Moore.

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday. The most popular tour according to Moore is the standard education tour.

Tour gathered outside the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

“We do often ask our wolves to howl at the end of our tours by having all of our guests join us in a group howl,” stated Moore. “And we’re lucky enough that our wolves will respond to quite often.”

You can book a tour online to see Shawnee and Van Gogh up close.