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“Analyzing Conservation Management of North American Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Sanctuaries”

Authors: Colton Stokes*, University of Georgia, Fausto O. Sarmiento, University of Georgia - Adviser
Topics: Animal Geographies, Biogeography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: conservation, biodiversity, mammalian, wolf, California, Washington, Colorado, Sanctuary, Range
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The North American gray wolf (Canis lupus) has had a remarkably complicated history. Since the introduction of European colonizers, what were once top predators roaming the vast expanses of North America’s ecosystems, have since faced their own predation and range loss. After generations of turbulent population rise and fall, in 2020, we can see strong efforts in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to manage wolf populations and return this species to a broader historic range. One particularly intriguing movement is the rise of wolf sanctuaries out of the non-profit sector. These non-profit organizations exist with their own characteristics that can differ greatly between organizations despite having similar classifications. Which canid species, varieties, and hybridity percentages are included in the sanctuaries, the degrees to which the sanctuaries receive governmental assistance, to what extents the sanctuaries permit employees, volunteers, and visitors to interact with the residents, and the mechanisms through which sanctuaries raise awareness to their causes and actively contribute to the re-population of wild canid ranges, among other characteristics make this forum particularly diverse, intriguing, and invaluable to the preservation of the North American gray wolf. By assessing the history of North American gray wolf conservation efforts and conducting interviews on site and remotely with several wolf sanctuary employees and volunteers, a qualitative interpretation in favor of the sanctuary as an invaluable component in North American gray wolf conservation was achieved, containing findings which may be applicable to a wider range of philosophies concerning biodiversity conservation.

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