I hope you all had a great holiday season. The wolves weathered the holiday well considering the December 26th – 9 am wolf check was -34 degrees below zero. On New Year's day, nearly 10 inches of snow fell creating a great diversion for the wolves (the pups love fresh snow) and many hours of work for the curator. Enjoy the winter photos…
Lucas is doing well. Every day, vitamins and cosequin are given in a meatball to keep him healthy. Lately, he's been eating all the meat and leaving a clean vitamin on the ground. Wolf Care Staff need to be extra vigilant to make sure he eats his vitamins. There is truth to the saying, the older you get the wiser you get… Lucas is proof of that.
Lucas termed the "old man" by wolf care staff continues to show the greying hide indicative of his age. He enjoys the warmth of the den boxes more than the other wolves, and will often be found curled up in the deep straw beds in the box. Staff has noticed Lucas becoming more social, actually greeting wolf care staff with a lick in the face. This was a rarity when he was younger; but he seems to enjoy the handler contact as he ages.
Sorry for the lapse in logs, I was at 2 professional conferences in the last two weeks; Wolf Care staff took great care of the wolves in my absence. Lucas continues to do well this winter. He has less stiffness than previous winters, despite the recent bout of cold weather. He enjoys wolf checks and gets a thorough physical exam during each check.
There are no significant behavioral issues to report this week. All wolves seem to be enjoying the fresh snow which seems to fall daily. The only issue is the depth of snow and the height of fences (especially the retired enclosure). The wolf care staff are continually shoveling the winter waterers, paths and gates to ensure that day to day operations can continue. This week's log photos are reminder's of the days, months and years of care that's been delivered at the IWC. When winter arrives (as it has this year), the work can sometime seem overwhelming. Staff often talk about the good old pup days (we forget how much work pups are when the snow flies) Enjoy the pup pictures…
Lucas has been acting like a young wolf again with the recent snow. He has initiated chases with both Lakota and Mackenzie, playbowing to them then zipping around the enclosure, hiding behind the den boxes. Always observant, he watches the goings on of the exhibit pack very closely and gets very excited when they play.
Lucas is defending a carcass today. When he has something he wants, he uses his height to become more dominant. He stands over his possession and raises his hackles to make himself appear significantly taller. He doesn't do much more than this posturing, but it gets the point across to Lakota. MacKenzie tends to ignore this and finds another place to lay down.
Lucas likes the opportunity to chew on scraps from hunters. His favorite thing is to run around the pen with a ribcage or deer head. He can still crack open bones, even though his teeth are wearing a bit.
With the ear mite situation in the main exhibit, the staff have been cleaning and checking the Retired Pack's ears on a daily basis. During their October medical exam, their ears were extremely clean, so there's no indication that they had the same problems as the Exhibit pack. The mites may have been something the pups brought into the enclosure. The Retired wolves take to wolf care checks easily; Lucas has been known to back up to a wolf care staff person to get his fix of scratching from the staff. In this week's photo, staff are checking Lucas's ears.
Lucas continues his laid back ways, greeting wolf care staff, and avoiding the MacKenzie-Lakota conflicts. He does seem to appreciate fresh straw in his den box, and placidly awaits his turn to eat.
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.