Predators of the Heart teaches character, respect | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — A full-grown mountain lion, two wolves, an alligator and a king cobra were just a few of the wild creatures that made an appearance in Grace Academy’s gym on Friday, May 17, for the Predators of the Heart wildlife exhibit.

Hundreds of spectators packed the gym as Dave Coleburn and his assistant, Dane Yates, brought out a host of animals, including poisonous snakes, an alligator snapping turtle, an arctic fox, a skunk, an armadillo, a yellow-headed vulture, an eagle owl and more.

The Predators of the Heart animal encounter show is intended not only to educate attendees, young and old, on various wildlife species, but also to encourage character development and respect.

“This is a special trip for us because if we didn’t live so far away in Anacortes, my family would attend Grace Bible Church,” said Coleburn.

Paulette Habersetzer of the Lake Stevens Little School, who co-hosted the show, first heard about the exhibit through her son and decided that it was something that could work at Grace Academy.

“He always knows about things before we do,” she joked. “This show is great and I think that everyone is really enjoying it.”

One of the most popular portions of the event was when Coleburn allowed spectators to take photos with a 6-week-old wolf puppy or a young alligator. The show ended at 7:15 p.m., and at 9 p.m. there was still a line of attendees waiting to have their photos taken.

“These puppies are 6 weeks old and were bottle-fed by humans to ensure proper socialization,” said Yates, a wolf-care specialist who started Project Alpha Wolf as a way of protecting Washington wolves. “The basis for fear of wolves is lack of knowledge. Unfortunately for a lot of these predators, they are unfairly judged and eliminated because people just don’t know anything about them. By bringing them out and showing them to the public, we are able to establish a generation that is going to go into government one day and if they have been exposed to these animals early on, they will remember that in the future and help protect them.”

For more information on Predators of the Heart, visit


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