Saturday Through My Lens
today showcases our visit to The Kroschel Films Wildlife Center
in Haines, Alaska.
The Wildlife Center takes in rescued, abandoned and injured animals and gives them the opportunity to be ambassadors for animal-kind. Steve Kroschel is dedicated to educating people and bringing awareness to the dwindling wildlife population through his documentaries, films, wildlife center, and work with experts in animal studies.
We got the opportunity to meet and learn about animals we had never encountered.
The tours at the Wildlife Center are limited to a couple of groups a day, and the groups are limited to 20-25 people, so everyone has the opportunity to hear the lessons and get up close and personal with the animals.
The animals are not kept in small, cramped quarters like some zoos or animal parks. Steve strives to give them freedom and space to engage in their natural behaviors.
It was one of the highlights of our Alaska Cruise, and Dr. Smooth counts feeding a moose a banana as one of his favorite life moments.
The passion that Steve and his staff have for these animals is evident in the way they speak of them and interact with them.
We were awed and inspired by what we learned about these animals, not only from each animal's personal story of how they came to the Wildlife Center, but in the information we learned about their kind as a whole.
One of our favorites was Kitty the Grizzly Bear, who came to live with Steve when a hunter shot her mom without realizing there was a baby cub involved. She came to the Wildlife Center in a five-gallon bucket, and she has grown quite a bit since then, in part due to her love of oatmeal, which Steve feeds her from a spoon.
She was too young to learn the necessary survival skills from her mom before she died, so she will have to live with Steve for the rest of her life in captivity. But she is happy, she is loved, and she is teaching children and adults about grizzlies.
Another of our favorites was Banff the Wolverine, another of Steve's rescues. Banff is the only known domesticated wolverine in the world. The experts don't normally get to study much about these intelligent and elusive creatures, considered to be the most ferocious animals on the planet.
He told us people studying them once trapped a wolverine and put a tracker on it. When they released it, it ran for 7 days straight, stopped, devoured a moose, and continued to run until it lost the tracker. But thanks to Banff and Steve, wildlife experts are able to study the wolverine's living habits and learn more in their efforts to save the wolverines' vanishing population.
We felt blessed to spend the day with so many different animals and to learn more about how to share the planet with them successfully. As Steve says, we are their hope.