Chinook on Frontier Airlines

Photo courtesy of Frontier Airlines.

The 100th animal to adorn the tail of a Frontier airplane is a Colorado wolf named Chinook.

Chinook, a three-quarter wolf dog, was the first wolf Darlene Kobobel, founder of Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, rescued as a 2-year-old in 1993 from a shelter that was going to euthanize her. 

According to her website, wolfeducation.org, Kobobel's sanctuary began with that act of kindness:

"Once Darlene learned of the fate of this beautiful animal, in spite of her childhood fears of wolves, she took Chinook home and learned of the issues and controversies regarding wolf-dogs and wolf-dog breeders throughout the county.

"Determined to provide a safe haven for unwanted wolf-dogs, Darlene created the Wolf Hybrid Rescue Center. During the first year of operation, the Center was inundated with 15 – 20 phone calls every day from around the country from people who wanted to surrender their beloved wolves."

Of the approximately 250,000 wolf-dog hybrids born each year in the U.S., 80% die before they are 3, partly because people can't care for them and surrender them to shelters, which euthanize them within three days, her website says.

Frontier Airlines called Kobobel about painting Chinook on one its aircraft after reading her inspiring story online.

Dozens of animals have adorned the tails of Frontier's aircraft beginning in the mid-1990s as a marketing campaign.

The no-frills airline has changed management since then, but the animals — and their catchy nicknames have been a constant. Among them have been Grizwald the grizzly bear, Larry lynx, polar bear cubs Klondike and Snow, Hank the bobcat and Jack, a snowshoe hare.

Kobobel was surprised when Frontier called, and considers it a great remembrance for Chinook.

"Without her, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center would not exist," she said. "To see her fly in the sky is breathtaking. Frontier Airlines also wanted to help promote conservation. We all could not be more proud."

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