NAPLES, Fla. -- The Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples is getting back to its daily routine after having to evacuate from the fires in Collier County. The sanctuary is located on nearly 2 acres of land and is home to more than 60 wolves.
“We aren’t wildlife rehabbers, we aren’t zoo’s. We take in primarily captive bred exotic animals people have gotten as pets, whether it's a lemur or the wolves that are going to howl for you right now,” said Shy Wolf Sanctuary president Deanna Deppen.
The organization was started by a Southwest Florida couple in the late 1980's and has grown to become a registered nonprofit in 2001.
Just a few weeks ago, volunteers scrambled to place all the animals in facilities throughout 3 counties after an emergency evacuation due to brush fires.
“The animals definitely knew something was going on they could sense our anxiety if you will over the whole situation and hatch them up and relocate them," said Deppen.
After the ordeal was over, the organization said finding land and building a new facility is a top priority. A blueprint they have on site shows a future sanctuary that includes an enclosed area they could keep the animals on site rather than having to transport them during a hurricane or fire.
“We need to build from the ground up all this you see here was built over a 20 year period with a lot donated and volunteer labor,” said Deppen.
The organization has looked at a few potential options but said collier statutes requires they build on 20 acres compared to the 2 they are currently using. Deppen said they currently are hoping for a generous donation of money or land to make this possible.