Saturday, September 26, 2015

St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary offers public tours, family festival

Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 
MONTGOMERY — The St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary houses about 14 wolf and wolf-dog mixes from across the country on the western edge of Montgomery.

Manager Christie Guidry said the animals are either rescued or given to the shelter from their owners.“We try to give them a nice stable, happy place to be forever because a lot of them have been bounced around a lot,” Guidry said.

Alpha Wolf , Mystery, was the first wolf to inhabit the sanctuary after suffering abuse at another wolf sanctuary which was shut down due to “substandard conditions,” and is the reason Founder Jean LeFevre opened St. Francis 13 years ago.“She (Mystery) escaped the enclosure there and was caught in a steel-leg trap on someone’s property, and shot three times and left for dead,” Guidry said.

Animal Control rescued Mystery and rushed her to a veterinarian where LeFevre found her and decided that she would open a place for the endangered animals to roam freely and live among other wolves.

Although St. Francis was founded in 2002, Guidry said many people are unaware of the sanctuary and how it operates.“So much of our community doesn’t even know we exist,” Guidry said. “That used to be intentional because we find there are still a lot of people in the world that misunderstand wolves. But we’ve found that so many people find us that love wolves and want to know more about us and we just see that there is a demand for us to have more of a public presence.

St. Francis offers public tours and opportunities to meet some of its ambassadors throughout the year. Guidry said that educating younger generations about wolves can aid in preserving the animals as time goes on.“When we have a child that comes on a tour and they’re scared of wolves and by the end they’ve pet our ambassador and are smiling and happy, that’s our future for wolves in the wild,” Guidry said. “Those kids that aren’t afraid of them anymore, realize they bring balance to nature and want to keep them as a species.”

Saturday, Oct. 24, the 10th annual Festival of the Wolves will be held at the sanctuary from 12 until 4 p.m. Face painting, a food truck, door prizes and a silent auction will be held for participants to help educate the community and allow them to get to know the wolves and St. Francis staff.

For more information on the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary, call (936) 597-9653.