Breaking The 'Big Bad Wolf' Stereotype In Ipswich

IPSWICH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Since it was founded in 1990, the mission of Wolf Hollow has been to educate the public about wolves.

They're not the scary, dangerous creatures of fairy tales and folklore, sanctuary owner Zee Soffron—son of founder Paul Soffron—told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe.

"The dream was that it wouldn't be a place where people just come to see wolves, but really leave with a better understanding of what they're all about, even if it would just be taking some of that fear or mystery away from the kids," Soffron said. "That fear, that mystery, not knowing something, is one of the bigger barriers, and that misunderstanding has led to millions of wolves being killed, from 5,000 years on."

Soffron says a wolf "pack" is actually a family, and the "alpha" wolves are really just the mom and dad wolves. He said the animals fear humans as much as humans fear them, and there have only been two human deaths to wolves in the past 100 years.

Wolf Hollow has five acres for their wolves to roam. There are nine-and-a-half wolves at the sanctuary (one is a wolf-dog hybrid)—grey, black, and white wolves.

The wolves eat 5.5 lbs of pre-packaged meat each day, but sometimes, as a special treat, police and the Department of Environmental Management sometimes bring roadkill deer to the sanctuary.

"When they do get, say, a roadkill deer, one wolf might eat 25-30 pounds," Soffron said.

Sanctuaries are important, Soffron says, because wolves' numbers are dwindling.

"Right now, there's between 5,000-6,000 wolves in the continental U.S. between the Great Lakes, the Yellowstone area," he said. "As a comparison, there's about 5,000-6,000 coyotes just in Massachusetts."

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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