As you may have read in the Exhibit Logs, we retired Denali on Friday. Denali came to us in 2008 from the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake and has been an active part of the Exhibit Pack for 12.5 years. From what we can see from the surveillance cameras, there was some dominance over the deer carcass that resulted in Denali getting a bite on his back right leg near his Achilles tendon and his paw. The vet was here doing an assessment on Boltz and she advised that Denali needed a treatment of antibiotics, some rest to heal his pad, since these are notoriously hard to heal if activity isn’t restricted. With colder temperatures and snow predicted for the weekend, we knew activity was only going to increase with the younger pack mates and food possession, so we decided to move him into the East Side Retirement area permanently. Another additional circumstance related to Denali’s overall health. In May’s medical exam the vet identified one of his five biopsies showed a potential mast cell tumor, so this is an appropriate time to begin the next stages of his medical care. Since this was not a forced retirement, meaning the other wolves didn’t force him out, there is some bark howling behavior coming from Grayson and Axel due to the change in pack dynamics. Denali is transitioning to the new location, but in order for him to take his antibiotics, he is restricted to smaller meals twice a day. We would like Denali to lose a bit of weight and want to make sure he is always willing to take his medication. This was a bit of a problem when he was in the Exhibit. He would gorge on a deer carcass, then become finicky about his daily meds. Today is the 4th day of his retirement and so far the plan is working. We anticipate Boltz and Denali can share the same area, but we need to wait for results from the recent tests on Boltz before we change anything in his life.
We are reconfiguring our gate system to allow for Grizzer to resume access to the front of the Pack Holding Area. As winter advances, we definitely want him closest to the heated building. Until then, Grizzer is very content in the back habitat and Boltz is content in the Pack Holding Area enjoying the new cover hay placed by the wolf care staff over the weekend.