Due to significant concerns for staff and volunteer health during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Executive Committee of the International Wolf Center has decided the Center will defer bringing in pups until 2021. The Center had planned to introduce two new wolf pups to the exhibit pack this year.

 

“This was a difficult decision and I’m sure it will be disappointing for many of you,” said the Center’s executive director, Grant Spickelmier. “The process of bringing in wolf pups and socializing them is intensive and involves several staff and volunteers providing 24 hour care and monitoring over several weeks in May and June right when the peak of COVID-19 cases is anticipated to occur in Minnesota. After review of staffing, facilities, and what we know currently about the virus and its ability to spread, it was determined that the potential health risks to International Wolf Center staff and volunteers were too high to justify moving forward this year.”

 

Typically, adding pups on a 4-year cycle to the Center’s pack of ambassador wolves helps maintain pack dynamics. Since two pups will not be brought in this year as planned, Wolf Care staff are developing a new management plan to support the Ambassador Pack until pups can be added in 2021. The pups had been scheduled to come from the Wildlife Science Center (www.wildlifesciencecenter.org) an education and research organization in Stacy, MN.  The pups will now remain at their facility and be incorporated into their wolf program. The International Wolf Center plans to provide financial support to the Wildlife Science Center to help with pup care and hopes to obtain pups from them in 2021.

 

The Ambassador Pack of wolves is one way that the Center teaches the world about wolves. During this pandemic, free online programming is being offered to students and adults throughout the world. Information on these programs can be found on wolf.org.

 

As of now, the Center plans to reopen on Friday, May 8, but that will depend on the latest recommendations from the State of Minnesota. The Center is scheduled to open seven days a week starting May 18.