South African Friends of Wolves (SAFOW) has been founded by a group of people who not only love wolves but are committed to their protection in general and the well-being of those kept in our country in particular.
It is our aim to educate the interested public about the true nature of the wolf. This is not the wolf of legend and myth, but the wolf that once roamed in substantial numbers the vast expanses from Mexico to Canada, from Spain to Japan, and from Ethiopia to India. In doing so we hope to make a difference in the appreciation of one of the most sophisticated predators that ever graced our planet. We truly believe that wolves have a legitimate right to share earth with us and need our protection. We also believe that our society can learn a lot from their social structures.
Although only comparatively small numbers of wolves are being kept in captivity in South Africa, there appears to be an unproportionally great interest in them. As a result of persistent misconceptions the animals are often kept in less than adequate circumstances or even misused to achieve dubious aims. The subject of wolfdogs presents another range of problems that must be addressed in this context. By providing a local source of information we strive to make a difference both in the level of education of the interested public and the well-being of the animals concerned.
You may still wonder what the benefits for South Africa and its indigenous wildlife may be. Well, the civilisation-induced “problems” associated with free-ranging wolves are not so different from those posing a threat to our smaller predators. The latter include, for example, foxes, jackals and the wild dog, various wild cats, and many other carnivores. Like wolves, these species frequently find themselves faced with shrinking natural habitats and new potential food sources, i.e., livestock, if they don’t happen to be living in protected areas such as nature reserves etc. As a result they may be killed, accidentally or intentionally, in spite of their protected status. By monitoring the efforts to solve these problems for the wolf in the wild we hope to create a database of information that can also be used to improve the chances of survival for these precious South African animals.
For a look at the fascinating story of two people sharing their home and lives with wolves, read more here.