Welcome to the Wolf Logs! Wolf Care Staff at the International Wolf Center provide weekly updates on the physical and behavioral observations of our ambassador wolves along with an image depicting their behaviors. Each ambassador wolf has their own wolf log page that you may view by clicking on the image of the wolf you would like to learn more about. You may also explore the archived logs organized by month and year to learn more about the history of each ambassador.
The Exhibit Pack refers to the wolves in the main enclosure. Members of the pack may vary as wolves age and new wolf pups are socialized and added to the Exhibit. Currently, the Exhibit Pack consists of Denali, a northwestern gray wolf, born on April 27, 2008, Boltz, believed to be great plains gray wolf born on March 17, 2012 and Axel and Grayson, arctic gray wolves born on May 2, 2016.
Whether you would like to support the socialization process of our newest pups, aid in the continued care of our ambassador wolves or honor any of the “Gone But Not Forgotten” ambassador wolves, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund. This fund goes directly to the continued care of current and future wolf pack mates.
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. Malik passed on March 22, 2014, and Shadow on July 2, 2014.
We are currently on the third generation of retirees under unique circumstances with three wolves in retirement, Grizzer, Luna and Aidan. Grizzer and Aidan are in retirement because of age, while Luna is in retirement because of physical condition and compatibility. 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. Luna was born on March 25, 2012 and came into retirement on August 7, 2016 when she displayed some intense behavior towards the 2016 pups. Aidan was moved to retirement in July 2018 because of his age.
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, Luna, Aidan 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.
Gone But Not Forgotten
The Gone But Not Forgotten wolves are those wolves that were International Wolf Center ambassador wolves but have since passed away. This section serves as a reminder of all the great educational opportunities these wolves provided during their lives and the lessons we’ve learned. The instincts that make a wolf successful in the wild, such as strong social bonding with pack members, maintenance of defined rank order, and ability to distinguish vulnerability in prey animals as well as fellow pack mates, makes a wolf a challenge in a captive environment. The challenge is indeed great but we are up to it and more committed than ever to provide the best possible care of our wolves.
For those of you who would like to honor our “Gone But Not Forgotten” ambassador wolves, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund in their memory. This fund goes directly to the continued care of current and future wolf pack mates.
The 1989 Litter
The 1989 pups were born on April 24, 1989 at U.S.D.A. licensed facility in Rochester, Minnesota. The litter represented the great plains subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus nubilus). The history of the Center’s ambassador wolves starts with this pack of four pups who served as educational ambassadors for the 1989, 1990 and 1991 summer seasons. The Center chose two males, Jedadiah and Ballazar, and two females, Raissa and Bausha. The Center operated a seasonal exhibit from May 30th to October 1st; during the winter, the wolves spent their time in a large wooded enclosure at the home of the Curator.
By six months of age, rank-order dominance between Bausha and Raissa began to increase. In captivity, it’s the responsibility of the captive managers to manage pack compatibility. It appeared that both of these females had dominant tendencies and neither seemed to submit, creating some intense interactions. In the wild, a situation of competing rank-order may be stimulus for one of the wolves to disperse. The wolf management team decided it would be best to place one of the females at another facility. In the fall of 1989, Raissa became a dominant female at Brown County Reforestation Camp in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
It was apparent that the wolves isolation during the winter created some negative conditioning towards a public display. With each consecutive summer, the wolves became shyer towards viewing. It was decided that it was best to find alternative options for the remaining 1989 littermates. In 1991, Ballazar became a member of the captive pack in Stanley, Idaho, named the Saw tooth Pack, filmed by Jim Dutcher for an ABC production titled “The Wolf: Return of a Legend.”
Possession of Jedadiah and Bausha was transferred to the Wolf Curator, Lori Schmidt, in the fall of 1992. Even though the Center was only seasonal at the time this litter was on display, thousands of people viewed these wolves. The educational programs related to this litter was critical during a time when the Center was establishing itself as a science-based educational Center in Ely, Minnesota.
Since 1989, the International Wolf Center has been caring for captive wolves as the core component of ‘teaching the world about wolves’. Monitoring the health and well-being of our ambassadors is a 24-hour job. While our staff may not be able to physically attend to the wolves at all times of the day, with the implementation of ip cameras we are able to view and assess critical behaviors and interactions of our ambassador wolves day and night. These security cameras not only give us a better insight to the social behaviors of the ambassador wolves, but they also give us the ability to assess the health of our animals both physically and psychologically. In addition, they facilitate live streaming of high definition video for our web cams.