Day 2 Update
Aidan had a restful first night of retirement, but by dawn, as the Exhibit Pack started some social interactions, he started to show some anxiety, pawing at the gate towards the activity. Grayson is coming to the fence line whining and that gets Aidan anxious. Staff are able to calm Aidan down with distractions, but the challenge with social animals is they want to be social, regardless of the moments of tension that affected their confidence. Aidan likes a thick layer of wood chips, so I placed a full bag on the den and for now, he is comfortable there. He has been swimming several times in the wading pool in the Pack Holding Area. When in the Exhibit, he didn’t get much pond time because the stability of getting in and out of the pond made him vulnerable. He also had a full meal of chicken with his morning meds, we know wolves like to rest after sleeping. He will be going on a diet similar to Luna, but we won’t start that until he is comfortably settled with the new arrangements. I am switching the webcams between the East Side Retirement of Luna and Grizzer and the pack holding area (we don’t have enough bandwidth in the lab to do 3 cameras). If you watch the camera this morning, you may see him as he investigates the area, rests on the wood chips or focuses on the pack. You may notice some shaved areas on Aidan; he had his belly shaved to get a clear view for the ultrasound, and the vets checked out some other residual growths and skin issues. His hair will grow back before winter. The next step in the transition plan is to share a fence line with Luna and Grizzer. We need to do this carefully, if Aidan has too much anxiety, it can be viewed as a weakness and both Luna and Grizzer can take advantage of him. The first initial try yesterday resulted in Aidan showing a tucked tail and running from Luna. We will take this slow; forcing a situation could cause a negative circumstance that could affect a long-term relationship.
The rest of the pack is not focused on Aidan other than some limited activity at the fence line, but it is short-lived. Denali has had no displays of interest in Aidan, but has been spending his time doing appeasement behavior (licking the sides of Axel’s face) and stimulating play bows and chase behaviors. Boltz has had the most noticeable change in behaviors, without the tension between he and Aidan, he is socially interacting with the pack, feeding at will and thanks to a cold front, enjoying some cooler weather.