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Tenino-based Wolf Haven acquires wolf sanctuary in Montana

Some of the Montana wolves in their enclosure during feeding time.
Some of the Montana wolves in their enclosure during feeding time. Courtesy

Wolf Haven International has acquired the McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation in Montana, the Tenino-based nonprofit announced Tuesday.

The foundation is based in Bridger, Montana, south of Billings. The property is home to 33 captive wolves.

Wolf Haven will manage the McCleery site as a satellite sanctuary. Wolf Haven sanctuary director Wendy Spencer has been temporarily reassigned to the Montana location, according to a news release.

The acquisition will allow the non-socialized wolves in Montana to spend their remaining years in their current location. Wolf Haven also will arrange to preserve the DNA of the buffalo wolf lineage that extends from 1920. The Montana facility will remain closed to the public and the remaining wolves will not be allowed to continue breeding.

The Montana site also will be proposed as a future pre-release facility for the Mexican Wolf species survival plan. Wolf Haven's sanctuary participates in two such plans, for the endangered Mexican wolf and red wolf.

The McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation was founded in 1920 by E. H. McCleery, who wanted to save the remaining U.S. buffalo wolves from extinction. Over the next decade, he purchased more than 20 wild wolves from the government, zoos and trappers. The wolves remained in captivity and were allowed to continue breeding.

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