Colette and Paul Pondella founded the Shadowland Foundation in 2009. Located in the Lake Hughes area, Shadowland is dedicated to educating people about the true nature of wolves and their contribution to the ecological balance the environment.
“The wolf has always been iconic,” Colette Pondella said.
Roman mythology tells of Romulus and Remus, abandoned to die in the Tiber river. The river carried them to safety, and the she-wolf Lupa found and suckled them until a shepherd and his wife found them.
The Pondellas are like the shepherd and his wife in reverse, saving the life of a black Alaskan Timber wolf named Shadow.
Shadow died in 2011 and left behind Alaska and Takoda—the Alpha female and male of the pack—and six pups born May 2010. A newer addition to the family is Freedom, who, on March 3, 2013, turned 1 year old.
While the Pondellas continue to educate the world about the wolves, an iconic journey is taking place.
A wolf has crossed over the Oregon border into California, looking for a mate. Early in life, this wolf, after being captured by biologists, was collared with a GPS and named OR-7.
OR-7 was released back to the wild. In September 2012, shortly after the state of Oregon put a death warrant out on his father and sibling for killing cattle, OR-7 left his pack.
Now named Journey, he is the first wolf to cross the border to California in 90 years. He was last seen March 12, 2013 in Siskiyou County.
Colette said, “If Journey finds his way to Shadowland and finds a mate from her pack, she would let the two go to live their life together.”
On March 13, 2013, OR-7 was reported back in Oregon with no further updates. Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by state and federal endangered species acts.
Although protected in many states, an article in the Los Angeles Times, published April 16, 2013, stated that gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain region declined 7 percent last year. In 2013, 553 have been killed by hunters.
Additionally, in an article published April 25, 2013, the LA Times revealed a plan by federal officials to remove gray wolves in the Lower 48 states from the endangered species list.