This male pup was originally nicknamed Bolts for his characteristic of bolting through the wolf yard and open gates to gain access to the shared fence line with Aidan and Denali. At the time, he was approximately 8 days older than Luna, his pup mate, so his skills and abilities were more enhanced. Later, when Luna had some significant medical issues that required separation, Boltz was even more motivated to see the other wolves. A Name-the-Pup contest suggested a spelling change for his name and it received the most votes out of four choices. Wolf Care Staff were happy with the results since it really fit his personality.
Boltz is representative of the Great Plains subspecies and joined the Exhibit Pack on July 30, 2012. Boltz was a pup mate to Luna, the only female of the Exhibit Pack from 2012-2016, and his status in the pack was described as low ranking. In addition to lack of status, he developed a phobia about summertime insects, particularly wasps, hornets and bees. When he heard something buzzing overhead, he would drop his head and retreat to the wooded portion of the enclosure. This certainly did not help his status, but wolf care staff worked with him to desensitize him to flying objects. A bubble machine with bacon-flavored bubbles became a popular enrichment activity.
In 2016, arctic pups Axel and Grayson were introduced into the Exhibit Pack and this certainly helped Boltz socially. He had a great bond with the pups and worked in tandem with Axel to test the pack leader Aidan in the fall of 2017 throughout the winter of 2018. Since his testing of Aidan, he seemed to strive for pack leadership, but was more comfortable being a middle-ranking wolf. During the fall of 2020, staff noticed some instability in his back legs, that later led to his removal from the Exhibit Pack into retirement on Sept. 15, 2020. Initial testing and MRI imagery was unable to pinpoint the cause. His condition declined significantly in his last few months of life and he was euthanized on Nov. 12, 2020. The Center worked with a number of specialists to determine the cause of this neurological condition and provide knowledge about diagnostics, testing procedures and behavioral assessments that may aid future generations of wolves.
For more information on our ambassador wolves, watch extended wolf videos on the International Wolf Center’s YouTube Channel or enjoy a close-up of wolf behavior on our Wolf Watch Cams.