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Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary facts for kids

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Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Date opened 1991
Location Candy Kitchen, New Mexico, United States
Coordinates 34°54′38″N 108°29′21″W / 34.910653°N 108.489201°W / 34.910653; -108.489201
No. of animals 60+
Annual visitors 15,000+

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary (WSWS) is an animal sanctuary in Candy Kitchen, New Mexico, United States, dedicated to rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolves and wolfdogs. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Across the road from the sanctuary is a campground also run by the WSWS. Visitors who stay at the campground on the weekend can help feed the animals, joining volunteers as they give the wolves breakfast.


Originally called the Candy Kitchen Rescue Ranch, WSWS was founded in 1991 by Jacque Evans. Evans, a wolf-dog owner herself, realized that few people could handle such high-maintenance pets. She decided to create a refuge for unwanted wolves and wolfdogs on her property in Candy Kitchen. She supported animal rescues and the ranch by selling her artwork.

In 1993, Barbara Berge, who was rescuing wolfdogs in Albuquerque, moved to Candy Kitchen and helped Jacque transform the rescue ranch into a non-profit organization.

In 2003, Candy Kitchen Rescue Ranch was reorganized into the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, and Leyton Cougar became executive director.

In August, 2020, Brittany McDonald became Executive Director of Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, replacing out-going Director of Operations, Crystal Castellanos.

Goals and mission

Wild Spirit has three primary missions: education, sanctuary, and rescue:

  • Education: "To educate the general public about wolves, wolfdogs, and other related species and our environmental and ecological issues related to wildlife." Wolf Ambassadors from the sanctuary travel around the state and nearby areas to meet people at events and in classrooms. They offer first-hand knowledge that wolves are not the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood. On-site tours let better understand the animals and the necessity for sanctuaries.
  • Sanctuary: "To operate and manage a lifetime sanctuary for displaced, unwanted, and un-releasable captive-bred wolves, wolfdogs, and other related species, utilizing such resources as may be available from local, city, state, and private entities or individuals."
  • Rescue: While Wild Spirit receives between one and seven calls every day from people requesting that the sanctuary take their wolves or wolfdogs off their hands, WSWS is at full capacity. The majority of new animals are high-content wolfdogs or wolves being rescued from extreme situations.

Guided tours

Visitors can take guided tours of the sanctuary to see the animals. Tours range in length from 45 minutes to about 90 minutes. They start on the patio of the main log cabin and they are about 1/4 miles long. The sanctuary also offers tours specifically for photography, where visitors are allowed inside an average of four of the enclosures (with a guide) over a period of 1–2 hours. Private group tours are also available.

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