It has been a long time since we posted a wolf log. Our delay is not because we don’t think logs are important, it’s more like this pack has kept our focus on the tasks of day to day operations, medical challenges and planning for the future. With the loss of 5 wolves from 2019 to 2022 and the addition of 3 pups in two consecutive summers, change to the dynamics of the wolf care department has been intense.
I will first start with the “Gone but not Forgotten” members that we cherish and continue to share the many lessons each have taught us over the years.
Aidan – Died August 14th , 2019 – Mast Cell Tumors
Luna- Died November 26, 2019 – Spindle Cell Sarcoma
Boltz – Died November 12, 2020 – Microscopic lesions on his spine
Denali – Died September 4, 2021 – Liver cancer
Grizzer – Died January 27, 2022 – Congestive heart failure at 17 1/2 years of age
Now for the new life:
Rieka – Born May 23, 2021 – Joined the Exhibit Pack on August 9, 2021
Caz and Blackstone – Born April 6, 2022 – Joined the Exhibit Pack on July 28, 2022
The best way to describe the Exhibit Pack behaviors is to look at alliances within the social group. The sibling alliance between Caz and Blackstone has a significant amount of jaw sparring, wrestling, food possession and tug of war behavior expected by two juvenile pups. Axel and Grayson have a history of rank order behaviors that left Grayson subordinate to Axel for at least five of their near seven years of life. Behaviors vary from chin rests, to T-blocks and slow deliberate stand-offs that are more posturing than physical contact. Yet, after all that back and forth to determine who carries their tail higher, they can be found resting in the hay beds together. The genetic bond is strong between littermates. Which brings us to Rieka, a singleton adopted in 2021. Rieka is also unique in that she is the only female in the social group, so by default, she is the dominant female. Even in a non-related pack of spayed and neutered wolves, we have witnessed pair bonding behavior, where the dominant male and the dominant female pair up and provide leadership to the rest of the pack. Rieka will be two years of age on May 23, 2023. Wolves typically don’t mature until this age, so she is still finding her place interacting with the pups as if she is one herself, then being assertive and guarding of the pups as the leader of the pack. Time will tell how this social group will form and that is likely to be wolf time on wolf terms, not human time with human emotions.