If you’ve heard howling lately and live in Studio City, Ca you might be surprised to find out one of your neighbors are raising wolves in their backyard, that is if your neighbors are Colette Duvall and Paul Pondella, who created the Shadowland Foundation. Part of the mission of this non-profit organization is to dispel the myth of the big bad wolf through playtime and educational speeches. Paul and Colette also try to help children understand the delicate balance of nature, and the very real threat of extinction the animals face.
Colette and Paul are the human handlers to three loving adults and seven pups, which are Alaskan timber-wolf hybrids. Although the couple love and enjoy the wolf-dogs, their main purpose is to educate children of all ages about the species through their non-profit organization, the Shadowland Foundation. The foundation is an effort to gain attention for the wolves, as well as trying to influence the community to try to help pass protective legislation for the animals.
So how did Paul and Colette get into the business of wolves? Well, it all started when Paul got his very first wolf hybrid, named Shadow, who is the alpha female.
From there, it grew from one to three, and eventually seven pups. Their home became a wolf den and the couple has never looked back.
But Paul warns that it’s not as easy as it looks, and for anyone thinking they want to get their own wolf-hybrid, there is a lot of training, effort and patience required. It took thousands of hours of training and dedication to get them to be socialized and trained enough to be able to interact with other humans. Raising wolves isn’t easy on the wallet either: Paul estimates it costs about $1200 a month to feed three adult wolves and with seven pups, that amount will more than double.
“It is a fact that when wild animals become habituated to people, they may lose their fear of humans, especially if they are fed or if they associate humans with providing food. Like any large predator, wolves are perfectly capable of killing people,” he stated.
“No one should ever encourage a wolf or any other wild animal to approach, and hikers and campers should take all necessary precautions to prevent mishaps involving wildlife,” he added.
The wolf hybrids were indeed friendly, but the couple has decided they need some more space to be able to handle their growing family.
They plan on moving to Freedom Ranch, a place where the wolves can have as much space as they need and provide a safe haven for their family, all the while continuing their dedication to the Shadowland Foundation.
–By Fehmida Bholat for Incredible Features