Fall is here, and Winter is not far behind. The temperatures in Ely have been cooling off, and it has started to get below freezing at night. Wolf care staff have begun some of the seasonal changes to the enclosures, including removing the UV pond filter from the pond pumphouse, and plugging in all of the heated waterers.
With the cooling temps and Winter on the way, this is the time of year that wildlife are searching for additional food resources. Staff have noticed heightened wildlife activity around the enclosures and wolf yard. A couple of weeks ago, students from Vermilion Community College were on site performing  dissections on roadkill deer carcasses. As you may imagine, the scent of deer carcasses is quite enticing if you are a wild animal searching for food. That night, our Ring camera on our wolf yard garage picked up footage of a wild wolf investigating the carcass freezer. This past week, we also got footage of what appeared to be a domestic cat near the wolf yard!
Wild wolf activity does not go unnoticed by our wolves. Grayson is especially in tune to what is going on in and around the enclosure. Grayson often bark howls in response to stimulus from wildlife near the fence. Sometimes Grayson is the only one to howl, but other times the whole pack joins in.
It is not only the wild animals that are searching for additional food, it seems as though the Exhibit Pack has been consuming more of the deer and beaver carcasses we feed them each week. As the weather grows colder, pack activity and dominance increases. Since the wolves tend to be more active this time of year, they have to consume more food to maintain their body weights.
Written by Wolf Care Assistant – Leanne Martin