Rieka was born May 23, 2021. She is a Northwestern subspecies of the gray wolf.
Rieka was brought into the Exhibit Pack space on Aug. 9, 2021. She weighed approximately 23 pounds and was 79 days old. The introduction started in the Pack Holding Area with Axel and Grayson coming into the smaller space to meet Rieka. The initial greetings went well despite Axel and Grayson being nervous in the smaller space. As the wolves were moved back into the larger exhibit space, Rieka was intimidated by the excitement and activity of the adults which resulted in her seeking comfort in the medical pen, a space that she utilized as a young pup. Within a few hours, Rieka found some food scraps and bones to occupy her time and sought comfort with the wolf care staff when needed.
She has a bold personality, exploring and approaching the adults, especially when staff are providing food resources. The Center had two behavioral teams monitoring Rieka’s progress over the days following the introduction. The first team was on-site, rotating 6-hour shifts to provide coverage 24 hours a day for the first week of the introduction. The second team was a virtual team that observed the two Explore.org cameras and the Center’s Exhibit Pac. Both teams entered data on the Center’s Ethogram platform and captured images and video to document the behaviors. We currently processing the excel spreadsheet with over 1500 observations. Over 30% of the observations listed Rieka as the “Instigator” of behaviors that included climbing, exploring, approaching and nose to nose greetings, primarily with Grayson.
She is more intimidated by Axel, so wolf care staff are spending time in the enclosure each night from 5 pm to 9 pm to encourage her to interact with Axel and Grayson and to ensure that she eats after the temperatures cool off for the night.
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.