A novel fund-finding solution

George_R_R_Martin_2011_David_ShankboneA crowdfunding appeal sponsored by the author of the Game of Thrones books and TV series, George R. R. Martin, invites people to pay the ultimate price, fictionally speaking, to help ensure a wolf sanctuary in New Mexico is able to continue its work.

The fundraising campaign was launched on the Prizeo website early in June, and offers all those who make a donation an opportunity to win an expenses paid experience, that includes meeting Mr Martin in his home town of Santa Fé, and sharing a helicopter flight with him to visit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. This offer stands irrespective of where in the world the winner may live.

The chance to receive signed books, and a personal thankyou video from Martin saw the initial target of US$200,000 reached in just one day. However those keen to feature as a named character in Martin’s next book are asked to pay US$20,000. For this amount they are guaranteed immortality in his next novel, as well as the knowledge they will meet with ‘a grisly death’.

“At this level you’ll get the incredibly exclusive opportunity to have a character named after you. You can choose your character’s station in the world – lordling, knight, peasant, whore, lady, maester, septon, anything,” the website states.

In launching the appeal Martin explained his long standing fondness for wolves, both real ones and his fictional ‘direwolves’, and the concern he felt when wolf populations dropped to critically low numbers during the 20th century. He has been supporting the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary for several years, and named all the wolves in the Sanctuary’s Westeros Pack after characters in his novels.

Over 60 captive-bred wolves and wolf-dogs are housed in the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, which is recognised as one of the country’s best for these animals. The wolves live out their lives at the sanctuary since being predominantly captive-bred rescue animals, that have suffered abuse or neglect, they lack the necessary skills to survive in the wild.

The money raised from the appeal will enable the sanctuary to build larger enclosures to allow the wolves to roam and exercise. Director Leyton Cougar said the appeal was a major breakthrough for the sanctuary which struggled to pay its bills. He also hopes the increased visits to the centre’s Facebook page since the appeal launch will both raise its profile, and attract more visitors.

“It costs about $26,000 a month just to stay in business. We’re behind on every single bill. This fundraiser will allow Wild Spirit Wolf to catch up, build the habitats, and have a bit of breathing room for the next few months,” he said.

Anne Layton-Bennett

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