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February 1, 2014

A Visit to the Big Run Wolf Ranch
by Ed Vincent

Jack, a British Columbian wolf is full of smiles and licks.
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Big run Wolf Ranch has been around for a quarter of a century and when it was built there were large fields for maybe thousands of yards away from where the wolves lived.  John Basile the president of the facility holds a USTA federal license and has been working for many years with large North American predators.

His wolves are beautiful and splendid animals and if you want to see large North American wolves like this you can't go to Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield zoo because they no longer have them on display. They are limiting their Wolf populations to Mexican wolves which are much smaller and threatened with possible extinction, a noble effort indeed.  I  would make room for some of our North American wolves which are just so much more grander in appearance, but until that happens you can see them here at the

The kids love the up close meeting with the ground hog.
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John's ground hog said there would be a short winter, but it was the day before the
actual groundhog day.

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John loves his animals, all of them, his lions (
mountain lion) and tigers and bears (oh my) and the other host of other interesting and fun animals. He recently acquired a young tiger cub, his first big cat. He has a larger cat at the moment, a North American cougar, but cougars only purr, they don't have a large bellowing roar, the signature of a large cat-like a tiger.

He has Guinea fowl, coyotes, a black bear, many variations of North American Wolf, a tiger, a groundhog and I believe even some ducks.

Visitors don't get as close as we did, unless or until they bring someone out for a visit.
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When John retired from being a UPS truck driver for many years the idea of having a Wolf protection facility was strong enough to get him motivated to take the action which led to the Big Run Wolf Ranch. He has a wonderful staff and many volunteers from some of the local universities and colleges as volunteers and helpers.

The five month old tiger cub enjoyed the snow fall and all the visitors.  Jack, the wolf  was happy to go for a walk and meet some of the visitors.
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Big run Wolf Ranch is in Lockport Illinois and from Chicago is only a 30 minute drive with good traffic and is easily reached by numerous expressways. They aren't open every day for the public just several times a year but they do travel the area in conjunction with other animal handlers to do shows it schools and other public facilities.

Jack says good-bye, but he wants to see you soon for a visit.
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The day we were there was a charming experience one I'll never forget and we highly recommend a visit when they have events for the public.

Story from 2003


John Basile, President
14857 Farrell Rd.
Lockport, IL 60441
815-588-0044 Fax: 815-838-4880

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