The Retired Pack has been in existence since 2002, when the 1993 litter was systematically tested for weakness. The instigators of those testing behaviors were Shadow and Malik, the arctic wolves who were born on May 8, 2000. Testing is a natural process that occurs in the wild as well as in captivity. The difference is that in the wild, wolves have the freedom to leave their pack or disperse. In captivity, managers have to make that decision for the wolves. So, we maintain a retired pack when those aging wolf decisions need to be made. The original Retired Pack of Mackenzie, Lakota and Lucas have all passed on.
We are currently on the third generation of retirees under unique circumstances with two wolves in retirement, Grizzer and Denali. Grizzer is in retirement because of age. Grizzer was born on May 5, 2004 and was removed from the Exhibit Pack in March, 2011 after the loss of the dominant female and his littermate, Maya. Denali was born in 2008 and was removed from the Exhibit Pack in October 2020.
Even though the Retired Pack is not directly on public display, (the whole idea of retirement is to get some relief from the sights and sounds of a busy exhibit), we continue to have wolf log postings, YouTube footage, Webinars and a webcam positioned in one of the three retired enclosures.
For those of you who would like to honor or help support Grizzer or Denali or any of the past or present ambassador wolves, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund in their honor. This fund goes directly to the continued care of current and future ambassadors.
We realize each connection will be unique. That connection, whether profound or subtle is important to us and means that each individual had a personal experience with the International Wolf Center. Those experiences help the Center fulfill its mission to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.
The Center’s ambassador wolves represent their wild counterparts and are our best teachers, exhibiting behaviors and displaying their physical adaptations to the world. You can support the ongoing care of our ambassador wolves through membership, donations, Wolf Guardian Sponsorships, and exclusive Wolf Den Store merchandise.