About the California Wolf Center

We believe wolves have an inherent right to return to their native habitat and exist in the wild as nature intended, and that it is our role to act as trustees of that value.

Our Mission

The California Wolf Center is dedicated to the recovery of wolves in the wildlands they once roamed. We envision a landscape where wolves thrive in healthy ecosystems and wolves and people successfully coexist.

We accomplish our mission through:

  • Conservation: partnering with stakeholders to implement proactive solutions that enable wolves and people to successfully share the landscape and leading the way in endangered species recovery programs.
  • Education: increasing awareness and understanding of wolves through engaging educational programs and public outreach.
  • Research: studying wolves' biology, behavior, and history in California.
  • Making Our Vision Reality

    Wolves once roamed North America in countless numbers, but were hunted nearly to extinction in the lower 48 United States. Today in the U.S., the iconic melody of a howling wolf pack is heard in only a handful of states, as wolves have been exterminated from a vast majority of their original range. The California Wolf Center is working to right this wrong. It is our duty to bring wild wolves back to suitable habitats and ensure successful coexistence.

    California wolf recovery

    As the only center of our kind in California, we have an obligation to ensure the peaceful return of gray wolves to the Golden State's wild areas. Gray wolves have been absent from our state for many years. However, in 2011 California celebrated a landmark step by the wild wolf known to many as Journey, when he crossed into Northern California from Oregon. He was the first documented wild wolf in California in nearly 90 years. Although he did not stay for long, this historic event signaled the beginning of what could be one of the most inspiring conservation stories in California; the return of wild wolves after disappearing at the hands of humans. Learn more about this undertaking here.

    Mexican gray wolf recovery

    Mexican gray wolves are considered one of the rarest land mammals due to their brush with extinction. In 1997 there were a total of 11 individuals left in the world. A fate caused by humankind. Currently, there are about 400 with this wolf remaining on the knife-edge of extinction. Through the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, a group of institutions working to restore Mexican gray wolves to the wild, the California Wolf Center plays an integral role in these conservation efforts. At our conservation center in Julian, CA we participate in captive breeding for Mexican gray wolves and host individuals that can potentially be released into the wild. Our actions today can prevent the extinction of the Mexican gray wolf! Take the time to learn more about our current efforts to recover Mexican gray wolves.

    Successful Coexistence

    Without tolerance from those sharing the landscape with wild wolves there will be no wolf recovery as human caused mortality continues to be a leading cause of death for wolves. It is our responsibility to create a space where concerns about wolves can be voiced and discussions can be held regarding solutions. We operate multiple coexistence funds to promote peaceful coexistence between livestock and wild wolves in both California and the Southwest. The purpose is to avoid conflict before it happens. Learn about these innovative efforts that will allow wolves to thrive in the wild!


    Archaic fairy tales and myths continue to haunt wolves today stirring up fears and concerns based on misunderstanding. By learning factual information about wolves, people can understand that this highly social and intelligent animal also plays a key role in the functioning of a healthy ecosystem, and we learn to coexist with an animal we once feared. This new understanding deepens the appreciation of and sense of stewardship towards wolves and the habitats they need to survive. Our survival depends on theirs, and their survival depends on our decisions and actions. Explore our website to learn more about wolves or make a reservation to visit our conservation center!

    How You Can Help

    The California Wolf Center is completely funded by people like you. Wild wolf recovery is not something we can accomplish alone, we need your support to make our vision a reality! Donate today and forever know that you made a difference for wolves in the wild. Want to be a supporter for the long haul? You now have the opportunity to make monthly donations to the California Wolf Center, becoming a critical part of our family. You can also join our pack by becoming a California Wolf Center member today!

    Bonnie Mcdonald

    Photo Credit: Bonnie McDonald

    Our Team

    The California Wolf Center consists of a diverse group of people throughout California who all share one common goal; to recover wolves in the wild. Volunteers, staff, interns and the board of directors work closely to ensure the stability of our mission and longevity of our vision. Join our team and become a volunteer today! See our passionate staff and board of directors here.

    Join Us

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