Rieka’s Transition into the Exhibit Pack – 27 September 2021

Rieka’s introduction occurred on August 9th and as previously reported, we had a behavioral observation team that recorded data.  We had the opportunity to work with a recent Wildlife Biology graduate, Kyle Kinkade, who donated a few days at the Center helping with projects.   The first order of business was to help sort Rieka’s behavioral team’s data.  Here is a summary of his  analysis:

  • ~50 participants gathering data
  • Both in-person and virtual (via wolf cams) observation
  • Behavioral data collected via web-based form (JotForm) (follow this link to access the form)
  • IWC Ethogram contains 141 documented wolf behaviors (follow the IWC Ethogram link to see this dictionary)
  • Behavioral data was collected from August 4th to August 22nd, 2021
  • 1,500+ events captured

His findings included:

  • Rieka was involved in 80% of events documented (Rieka mentioned in 1,200 of 1,507 events documented).
  • Rieka was the most frequently documented instigator of behavioral events.
  • Rieka was also the most frequently documented recipient of behavioral events.Approach was the most frequently observed behavior of events in which Rieka was involved.“To move closer to another wolf at a walk or trot.”
    Climb was the second most frequently observed action oriented behavior of events in which Rieka was involved.“To move toward the top of something or to a higher elevation.”

In addition to wolf care team members working morning and evening shifts of wolf care to help Rieka integrate into the pack, the Center’s educators make daily observations and report activity that they witness from the auditorium while interacting with visitors.  The Center remains open 7 days a week, from 9 am – 5 pm, so there are plenty of observations.  Here is portions of a report from 9/25/21.

At about 9:45 Rieka came back down and was splashing the water in the pond with her feet. Grayson came down from the woods to investigate. When Rieka saw Grayson, she began chasing after him. Axel saw her and Grayson playing and came running over with his tail in a T2 position. Rieka stopped chasing Grayson, greeted Axel and the two licked each other’s muzzles a few times and then all three wolves began chasing each other. They ran up into the woods shortly after this.
A few minutes later Grayson came trotting down out of the woods, followed shortly after by Axel with Rieka chasing him with her tail in a T2 position. During all of the chase sequences today Rieka had her tail in a T2 position unless Axel was chasing her. When Axel would turn around to chase her, she would run with her tail slightly tucked.
When Axel and Grayson took a quick break from playing with Rieka she continued playing by herself–running around in front of the windows and chasing her tail. Grayson got on top of the pumphouse and Rieka came and did a play-bow but he ignored her and turned away. She then grabbed his tail and started tugging on it–Grayson quickly turned around with his lips curled and snarled at her. When Grayson did this, Axel came trotting over and Rieka’s attention diverted to him and they began playing together. After a short time of playing, Axel walked over to the pond to drink. Rieka followed him and laid down next to him. She jabbed at his foreleg a couple times and then tried to roll over but she was too close to the edge of the pond and ended up falling in. She quickly got out and all three wolves began chasing each other again.