Why does the Center get wolf pups?
They are ambassadors to the wild
The International Wolf Center believes in wolf education, and one method for accomplishing the Center’s mission of advancing survival of wolf populations in the wild is through the use of ambassador wolves.
We see the benefits when visitors experience our captive wolves, especially socialized wolves that offer a glimpse into the individual traits of wolves, showing the social nature of the species that makes it successful as a top-level predator. So often people portray wolves for their predatory behavior and don’t appreciate the intricate pack life and social organization that keeps them together as a social unit.
“As curator, it is my job to maintain a socially cohesive unit of wolves on the exhibit, and we do recognize that to do this, new life must be added to the exhibit,” said Lori Schmidt, the Center’s Wolf Curator.
Where did the pup come from?
The International Wolf Center is a non-breeding exhibit, so when pups are added, we coordinate with another professional animal organization. The source is dependent upon reproductive plans within their facility and availability. We always acquire captive- born pups. This year we are coordinating again with the Wildlife Science Center in Stacy, Minnesota. They collaborated with the International Wolf Center first in 2008 to provide pups Aidan and Denali and had pups ready for us in 2020, but the International Wolf Center had to cancel the transfer due to COVID-19.
In 2021, we are planning to integrate the Northwestern subspecies into our Exhibit Pack. There are five subspecies of wolves in North America and we currently manage three subspecies, Canis lupus arctos, (Axel and Grayson, born in 2016) Canis lupus occidentalis or northwestern subspecies (Denali, born in 2008) and Canis lupus nubilus or great plains subspecies (Grizzer, born in 2004).
The Wildlife Science Center has more than 100 wolves and is an active participant in both the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf captive breeding programs.
The mission of WSC is to serve as an educational resource for all ages by: providing exposure to wild animals and the body of knowledge generated for their conservation; to advance understanding of wild animal biology through long-term, humane scientific studies on captive populations, thus contributing to technical training for wildlife agencies, educational institutions and conservation agencies.
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.