Newest pups will be part of programs starting around June 3

Contact information:

Chad Richardson, Communications Director, International Wolf Center

Email: chad@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The International Wolf Center is adding two pups to its Exhibit Pack in 2022. The pups arrived at the Center on Tuesday, May 10.

The 2022 pups will be visible to the public starting on approximately Friday, June 3.

The Center believes in wolf education, and one method for accomplishing the Center’s mission of advancing survival of wolf populations in the wild is through the use of ambassador wolves.

“These ambassador wolves allow us to teach thousands of people a year about the real behavior of wolves,” said Lori Schmidt, the Center’s wolf curator. “The Exhibit Pack is also a key part of the online programs we offer to schools across the world. These ambassadors are a key part of our aim to teach the world about wolves.”

The Center planned to add pups in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Center to delay those plans for one year. In 2021, the Center planned to add two pups, but was able to obtain just one pup. Adding pups this year was important for the health of the pack, and to allow our yearling wolf Rieka to experience some pup behavior she lacked as a singleton, Schmidt said.

“So often people portray wolves for their predatory behavior and don’t appreciate the intricate pack life and social organization that keeps them together as a social unit,” she said. “As curator, it is my job to maintain a socially cohesive unit of wolves in the exhibit, and we recognize that to do this, new life must be added to the exhibit.”

The International Wolf Center is a non-breeding exhibit, so when pups are added, we coordinate with another professional animal organization. The source is dependent upon reproductive plans within their facility and availability and the Center always acquires captive-born pups.

The 2022 pups were acquired from a USDA regulated facility in Minnesota. They will join three wolves in the Exhibit Pack, including Axel (6), Grayson (6) and Rieka (who turns 1 on May 23).

How do you see the pups?

One way for visitors to see the pups is through an outdoor viewing area adjacent to the wolf  yard, where pups will be spending time conditioning to the human component of a public exhibit. These programs are dependent on the weather. They last 15-minutes each and are held throughout the day.

“We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but safety of our guests, our staff and the wolves is paramount,” said the Interpretive Center Director, Krista Woerheide.

Another way to see the 2022 wolf pups is with a one-hour behind the scenes tour. These tours are only available for members of the International Wolf Center. Information about membership is available at wolf.org.

What will their names be?

The International Wolf Center will conduct a pup naming contest beginning in early June and announce the names at a special virtual fundraising event on June 14.

Advance tickets are available for purchase

Everyone who wants to guarantee themselves a chance to see the pups should get an advance admission ticket. To get your tickets, click the Book Now button on the lower right-hand side of the page at wolf.org. For members of the Center, entrance tickets are free. It is recommended that members also book their tickets in advance.

 

 

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.

The International Wolf Center is excited to announce the first two winners of the Dr. L. David Mech Fellowships. They are Lily Heinzel and Cameron Ho.

Both students will receive a $6,000 stipend and up to $4,000 in support for field research expenses. The International Wolf Center, which Mech founded in 1985, funds the fellowships.

Heinzel is a senior at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Ho graduated from the University of Washington in June 2021.

“We were thrilled at the quality of applicants,” said the Center’s Executive Director, Grant Spickelmier. “With this being the first year for the fellowships, we didn’t know what to expect. It was hard for the selection committee to narrow down the field and choose just two candidates, but we felt like Lily and Cameron both stood out. We are excited to be able to support their development as biologists.”

“It is so satisfying to know that these fellowships will help well-deserving students supplement their academic training with valuable field work on wolves and thus foster the preparations for their careers,” stated Mech.

Heinzel isn’t her first family member to have a tie to wolf research and Dr. Mech. Her grandfather, Richard Reichle, worked with Dr. Mech at the University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve on one of his early  telemetry projects.

“I feel so honored to represent my family, women, and inspired young scientists with the research this Fellowship will fund,” she said. “I have been working towards this point since high school when I read my grandfather Richard’s copy of The Arctic Wolf: Living with the Pack by Dave Mech.”

Heinzel said she will use the funding to study conservation genetics research on wolves in the Great Lakes region (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan).

“I will be working in Dr. Kristin Brzeski’s lab at Michigan Technological University using genetic sequencing to estimate baseline genetic variation, ancestry, relatedness, inbreeding, and gene flow of gray wolves,” she said. “My statistics degree will come in handy when the genotyping is complete and RStudio is used to analyze the data for peer-reviewed publication. It is important to establish a baseline of regional gray wolf population structure and genetic health prior to any new management action in the state of Michigan.”

The mission of the International Wolf Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.  Since the Center’s founding in 1985 by Dr. Mech and others, it has sought to provide the latest scientific information about wolves to our members, visitors, program participants and the general public.

Mech is a Senior Research Scientist with the Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He has studied wolves and their prey since 1958, as well as several other species of wildlife.

 

 

 

Contact: Grant Spickelmier, Executive Director
Office: 763-233-7132
grant@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Grizzer, an ambassador wolf at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, was euthanized Thursday, Jan. 27.
Grizzer was more than 17 ½ years old and was the Center’s oldest wolf in its 30 years of having an ambassador pack. He and his packmates at the Center have educated over half a million visitors at the Center’s exhibit in Ely and countless more online through regular YouTube videos, wolf logs and webcams.
Many of those webcam visitors watched along as Grizzer would race around the enclosure doing what later became known as the Grizzer 500.
“We’re all so sad today,” said Grant Spickemier, the Center’s executive director. “Grizzer meant so much to so many of us and to so many people around the world. Watching him encourage his retirement packmates to race around the enclosure with him during those Grizzer 500s was inspiring to all of us.”
The decision to euthanize him came after a consultation with the Center’s trusted veterinarian in Ely. His condition began to decline on Jan. 26 when wolf care staff observed him having troubles. He was brought into the wolf care building and the veterinarian was called to begin monitoring him. Blood samples were taken and IV fluids and antibiotics were administered. A portable x-ray machine from the nearby Vermilion Community College veterinary technician program was brought in for chest and abdominal x-rays, but nothing significant was found.
Wolf Curator, Lori Schmidt stated “In between the vet exams, diagnostic testing and treatments, some of Grizzer’s trusted wolf care team members spent the day keeping him comfortable in the wolf care center. The special bond that is formed during the neonate pup socialization stage has the most value on the last days of an animal’s life.”
Despite some hopeful moments where Grizzer ate a pound of beef and took meds early on the morning of January 27, his decline and more obvious indication of distress prompted the decision to euthanize him at approximately 7:40 a.m.
Grizzer joined the Center’s ambassador pack in 2004 with his littermate Maya. He was moved to the retirement pack in 2011 after her tragic death. He had lost confidence in his status and without the dominance of his littermate, he couldn’t compete with the younger packmates.
While he was in retirement, Grizzer saw several wolves share the enclosure with him, including Denali, Luna and Aidan, ​​as well as Boltz in a neighboring retirement enclosure. He was also engaged with the Center’s 2021 pup, Rieka, often interacting with her through the fence that separates the Exhibit Pack from the Retirement Pack.
To learn more about Grizzer’s condition, he was transported to the Ely Veterinary Clinic for a necropsy performed by Dr. Kristine Woerheide. Those results will further educate staff as the Center continues to manage the three remaining ambassador wolves at the Center’s facility in Ely.
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.

There are new faces leading the International Wolf Center’s Board of Directors. At its meeting in December, the Center’s board elected two new officers.

The new chair of the Board of Directors is Judy Hunter.

Hunter is a retired CEO of a Girl Scout Council. She became involved with the International Wolf Center after moving to Minnesota and started volunteering in several areas, including its Alpha Legacy donor program. After she joined the Board of Directors in 2012, those opportunities expanded to include participation on the Development Committee and chairing the 2013 Symposium Task Force. She was co-chair of the 2018 International Wolf Symposium and is serving in the same capacity for the event in October 2022.

“I believe in our work providing education about wolves and believe we must help the next generation understand the environment and the role we play in its balance,” she said. “The Center has a staff, both professional and volunteer, who are dedicated to our mission. It is exciting to be an active part of the team.”

The board’s vice chair is now Rick Duncan, a Minneapolis-based attorney.

Duncan practices in the fields of environmental law, federal Indian law, and commercial litigation. He has extensive experience in the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act, statutes critical to wolf conservation, and received the Sierra Club’s William O. Douglas Award in 2007. Duncan attended Yale Law School, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Hunter and Duncan replace two longtime officers for the International Wolf Center. Nancy Jo Tubbs served as the board chair since the 1990’s while Dr. L. David Mech, the founder of the Center, served as vice chair. Both remain on the Board of Directors and will serve as ex-officio members of the Executive Committee for the next year to aid in the transition.

New board member welcomed

The Center also welcomed a new board member, Madan Menon.

Menon, who lives in Milpitas, California, is the COO and a board member at Innovative International Acquisition Corp, (NASDAQ: IOAC), with a 17-year career in technology startups spanning multiple countries. He specializes in building companies from the ground up, having successfully built over six companies across India, Singapore and the United States.

His love for animals from an early age had him build an interest in wildlife and conservation efforts. Outside of his work, Madan loves spending time with his family and enjoys trail running along with biking and swimming.

The International Wolf Center was founded in 1985. Its mission is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.

13-year-old gray wolf euthanized Saturday night after his condition deteriorated quickly

Contact: Chad Richardson, Communications Director
Office: 763-233-7132
chad@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Denali, an ambassador wolf at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, was euthanized at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4.

The 13-year-old gray wolf was born in 2008 at the Wildlife Science Center in Minnesota. He came to the International Wolf Center with his littermate, Aidan.

Early reports on Saturday noted that Denali was very interactive and seemingly had no issues, but by Saturday evening that had changed. At about 7 p.m, a wolf care staff member noticed Denali’s gums were pale, his ears were cold and that he seemed dehydrated. Two additional wolf care staff members were quickly called in, including the Center’s longtime wolf curator, Lori Schmidt. As Denali’s condition deteriorated, the Center’s veterinarian, Dr. Kristine Woerheide, was also called in.

His condition continued to deteriorate and he was euthanized shortly thereafter. A necropsy was performed at the Ely Veterinary Clinic where Dr. Woerheide found a tumor on Denali’s liver that had ruptured. There were also calcifications throughout his lung lobes and a mass on his right atrium.

Tissue samples were collected and are being sent to a pathologist for further analysis.

“The benefit of working with socialized wolves is the trust that is developed between wolf care team members and the animals in our care,” Schmidt said. “This trust takes hours and hours to build during the critical bonding period as pups, but the benefits are never more important than those final moments when the hard decisions need to be made to end an animal’s suffering.  Denali’s last minutes were spent surrounded by the wolf care team, all of whom are dedicated to their task of caring for our ambassadors.

“He will be fondly remembered for his foreleg stabs, seeking attention from fellow packmates and staff doing wolf checks, as well as his bounding play-bows, when he was inviting anyone to chase him.”

With Denali’s passing, Grizzer, Denali’s 17-year-old packmate, again becomes the lone member of the Retired Pack, a position he has experienced in the past. In an effort to provide social contact to Grizzer, staff are working on providing a safe environment for face-to-face greetings with the wolves in the Center’s Exhibit Pack, including the 2021 pup, Rieka. Details will be shared on the Center’s wolf logs, webcams and upcoming webinars about the ongoing pack dynamics.

After 12 years in the Exhibit Pack, Denali joined the Center’s retirement pack in October 2020. In retirement, he joined Grizzer, a former packmate, and he adapted well to a calmer and more restful environment.

He and his packmates at the Center have educated tens of thousands of visitors at the Center’s exhibit in Ely, as well as thousands of people throughout the world through regular YouTube videos, wolf logs and webcams.

When Denali was born at the Wildlife Science Center, it was located in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The WSC has since relocated to Stacy and they were the source facility for Rieka, also a Northwestern/Rocky Mountain subspecies of gray wolf.

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.

From the Idaho Statesman:

Several conservation groups announced Monday that they intend to sue Idaho over the state’s controversial wolf law passed earlier this year, which the groups say could put other endangered species at risk.

A news release from the Center for Biological Diversity said it would join nine other groups in suing Idaho if it does not repeal a law passed in May that expands wolf hunting and trapping opportunities. The other organizations listed in the notice of intent are Footloose Montana, Friends of the Clearwater, International Wildlife Coexistence Network, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Sierra Club, Trap Free Montana Public Lands, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch and Wolves of the Rockies.

Click here for the full story.

Contact information:
Chad Richardson, Communications Director, International Wolf Center
Email: chad@wolf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The Center planned to add pups in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Center to delay those plans for one year. The pups are expected to arrive in early to mid-May and they will be visible to the public starting on approximately Friday, June 4.

The Center believes in wolf education, and one method for accomplishing the Center’s mission of advancing survival of wolf populations in the wild is through the use of ambassador wolves.

“There are countless benefits when visitors experience the Center’s socialized wolves that offer a glimpse into the individual traits of wolves, showing the social nature of the species that makes it successful as a top-level predator,” said Lori Schmidt, the Center’s wolf curator. “So often people portray wolves for their predatory behavior and don’t appreciate the intricate pack life and social organization that keeps them together as a social unit. As curator, it is my job to maintain a socially cohesive unit of wolves in the exhibit, and we recognize that to do this, new life must be added to the exhibit.”

The pandemic does mean there will be some changes at the Center this summer. The 2021 pups will not be part of the Center’s hourly indoor programs.

“Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we will be offering outdoor viewing opportunities that will require pre-registration to participate in a 15-minute pup viewing opportunity,” said Interpretive Center Director Krista Harrington. “We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but safety of our guests, our staff and the wolves is paramount and opportunities may be weather dependent.”

Another way to see the 2021 wolf pups is with a one-hour behind the scenes tour. These tours are only available for members of the International Wolf Center. Information about membership is available at wolf.org.

Advance tickets are required for everyone

Everyone who visits the Center in 2021 must purchase advance tickets. To get your tickets, click the Book Now button on the lower right-hand side of the page at wolf.org. For members of the Center, entrance tickets are free. Members are also required to book tickets in advance so that we can ensure everyone’s safety.

Your pup viewing opportunity must be booked for the same day as your general admission.

What will their names be?

The International Wolf Center will conduct a pup naming contest beginning in early June and announce the names at a special virtual fundraising event on June 15.

Where are the pups coming from?

The International Wolf Center is a non-breeding exhibit, so when pups are added, we coordinate with another professional animal organization. The source is dependent upon reproductive plans within their facility and availability. We always acquire captive-born pups. This year we are coordinating again with the Wildlife Science Center in Stacy, Minnesota. They collaborated with the International Wolf Center first in 2008 to provide pups Aidan and Denali and had pups ready for us in 2020, but the International Wolf Center had to cancel the transfer due to Covid-19.

In 2021, we are planning to integrate the Northwestern subspecies into our Exhibit Pack.

The Wildlife Science Center has more than 100 wolves and is an active participant in both the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf Species Survival Plan program.

The mission of WSC is to serve as an educational resource for all ages by: providing exposure to wild animals and the body of knowledge generated for their conservation; to advance understanding of wild animal biology through long-term, humane scientific studies on captive populations, thus contributing to technical training for wildlife agencies, educational institutions and conservation agencies.

 

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.