There aren’t many people out there who would feel comfortable around a fully grown wolf, regardless of how tame or domesticated they may be. However, for one woman named Danielle, that simply isn’t the case, at least when it comes to Kekoa. Kekoa appears at first glance to be a potentially lethal hunting machine, and he certainly is. Fortunately, he is also a resident of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, so he has plenty of experience around people, particularly Danielle. She is in no danger around him, and he clearly not only recognizes her, but he also has a deep affection for the girl. Even though she is dwarfed by his massive frame of muscle and fur, he never threatens her in any way. Instead, they spend their time together cuddling, playing, and scampering through the snow-covered hills of the reserve.
Danielle is incredibly lucky, not only because of her relationship with such a majestic beast, but because she is proof of how humans can live side-by-side with what are commonly thought of as dangerous, unfriendly creatures. Just seeing the two of them together is enough to showcase the bond that is possible when man falls into harmony with the natural state of an animal. Even when you see their interactions on film, it can be hard to believe what you are seeing.
Kekoa isn’t the only wolf with whom Danielle has formed a special bond. The wolf’s entire pack is familiar with Danielle, and many of them see her as part of the group. Another of the pack’s members, a female by the name of Sakura, is just as friendly with Danielle as Kekoa, showing playful jealousy when Danielle pays more attention to the male. The two wolves often compete for her attention, but Danielle is never worried about things getting out of hand. She trusts the beasts implicitly, which may very well be why they have accepted her. They can sense her lack of fear, and they embrace it.
The fact that Danielle has known the wolves for most of their lives is another important factor. Wolves imprint on those they deem above them in the hierarchy of the pack, and they understand that hierarchy as well as most humans understand our own. Wolves that meet humans at an early age, especially humans that are accepted into their pack by the alpha, learn to trust specific humans as if they were siblings. That’s not to say that you should go searching for your own wolf pack. These particular wolves are exceptionally used to the presence of humans because of the wildlife center, but most wolves aren’t as accepting. That’s another reason why Danielle is so lucky. Even amongst the rare instances of slightly domesticated wild wolves, a relationship like she has with Kekoa, Sakura, and the rest of the pack is astonishing.
You can visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center for yourself and learn about the local ecosystem and the animals that live in it, including wolves, foxes, coyotes, and more. They offer tours of their lands as well as educational programs that revolve around habitat conservation. Their goal is to create a safe place for endangered animals that can no longer survive in the true wilderness. The reserve is as close to pure wilderness as many of these animals will ever get to experience.
Relationships like those between Danielle and her wolf pack should be much more common, but humans have to learn that nature isn’t some foreign entity bent on destroying us. Humans are part of nature, no matter how hard we try to separate ourselves from it, and this story is proof of that.