It's not every day a hulking timber wolf asks for — well, demands, really — a belly rub.

Unless, of course, you happen to work at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, where a certain glutton for belly rubs wouldn't have it any other way.While staff members were cleaning the pens earlier this month, Na'vi, a 6-year-old timber wolf, made his customary demands — nice and hard around the sides of the belly and don't bother with the chest.

Seriously, please don't bother with the chest.

In fact, every time Casey Hampf, a staffer at the sanctuary, allowed her hands to wander to the wolf's upper body, she received a firm correction from Na'vi's paw."He'll tell you what he wants," Hampf adds. "If he wants a belly rub, he'll be like 'Nope, you can't pet me anywhere else but my belly.'"

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center was founded by Darlene Kobobel in 1993 after she adopted a wolf-dog hybrid named Chinook, who was on the verge of being euthanized.

Since then, the sanctuary has become a vital refuge for scores of timber wolves, also known as gray wolves. Once found across the country, gray wolves are fast fading from the American landscape, thanks to widespread hunting and habitat encroachment. What was once a population totaling nearly half a million is at around 5,000 today.


Good morning, everyone! We are so thankful to be experiencing summer like crowds! Yesterday was extremely busy for all of the staff, so we didn't get a chance to record our usual weekly wolf blog. Please enjoy this short video of Na'Vi begging for belly rubbins.
Posted by Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center on Monday, March 21, 2016

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