Thanks for the many emails and phone calls from wolf care supporters… Over the next few weeks, we will be including photos of Lucas sent by those who felt a strong connection and appreciated his presence as an ambassador wolf.

Lucas was more social with staff earlier in the week, but appeared more wary as the week wore on. Perhaps this coincided with colder weather, or with the exhibit pack getting more noisy as the week progressed. This week's photo shows Lucas keeping an eye on the staff working in the retired pen, but staying just out of sight.

Lucas remains a bit shy, but seems to be fine otherwise. It's hard to say the cause of this, there are a wide variety of behavioral changes that appear during this time of the year. He actively takes his vitamins and will approach for food, but it seems he only wants human contact on his terms, so staff respect his space and continue to observe him for other behavioral or physical changes.

Socialization between wolves seems to be paramount to the behavior of the individual. This is most evident in Lucas's case. While he seems to be aging at a faster rate than his packmates, the presence of his siblings stimulates him to be active. Without the social contact of specifically, Lakota, we're certain the aches and pains of a 12 year old wolf would keep him down. It's hard to stay down and listless when a wolf like Lakota comes racing by and encourages a chase.

So sorry for the delay in the wolf logs. Preparation for the Wolf Symposium in Colorado Springs has taken a bit of my time. In addition, protocols and contingency plans during my absence need to be written to ensure that every possible wolf emergency is covered. International Wolf Center members and former nannies, Brian and Ellen Dietz will be driving up from Illinois to spend the weekend at the Center assisting with any pack issues that may arise. I am most grateful for their offer to help keep an eye on the pack. I plan to feed a large deer carcass to both packs on Thursday night prior to my departure. A full wolf is usually a sleepy wolf. Dr Chip Hanson and wolf care staff Matt Fetterer and Jim Ziburski will be monitoring the pack as well.

This week's wolf logs were written by program participants in the 10/28-10/30/05 weekend program called "Working for Wolves", in which participants performed enclosure enrichment and maintenance projects in both the Retired and Exhibit enclosures. Written by Kristy Raines: As a participant in the Working for Wolves weekend, I was able to observe wolf behavior in response to the changes made in their enclosures. When the retired pack was moved to the holding pen, Lucas displayed the most agitation, pacing continuously around the pen. He would settle down only briefly when wolf care staff provided distractions for him, such as deer meat. This picture represents his usual behavior of carrying his food around the enclosure numerous times before eating or caching it.

Today during wolf care, the retired wolves were very active and spry. Due to the overnight snowfall, fresh straw was placed in the retirement enclosure in the den boxes and in Mackenzie's "corner". The wolves always seem to enjoy rolling in and exploring the scent of fresh straw. This resulted in Mackenzie, Lucas, and Lakota chasing each other around the enclosure, which wolf care staff throughly enjoyed watching. It is always good to see the retired wolves so active, especially as they age.

Today during wolf care, the retired wolves were very active and spry. Due to the overnight snowfall, fresh straw was placed in the retirement enclosure in the den boxes and in Mackenzie's "corner". The wolves always seem to enjoy rolling in and exploring the scent of fresh straw. This resulted in Mackenzie, Lucas, and Lakota chasing each other around the enclosure, which wolf care staff throughly enjoyed watching. It is always good to see the retired wolves so active, especially as they age.

Lucas has been the focus of many discussions this week. Staff noticed a weeping eye several weeks ago; but examinations don't appear to show any type of eye injury. Staff clean the weepy debris from his face and it appears to show up again the next day. There are several things that can cause this: a slight infection, a weakening of the immune system and even a response to stress. There's major construction across the road from the retired pack that has been going on for some time. Staff have noticed MacKenzie a bit more irritable as well. As fall approaches we expect things to quiet down. Until then, we continue to clean his eye, and check on his physical conditon.

Lucas seems to be doing better, although he has a bit of a stain from his weeping eye. The eye condition has improved and the stain should fade. He's resistant to staff cleaning his face. After the last time his face was washed, he proceeded to roll in the dirt to get rid of the smell. He's been very active with the cooler weather. The Workin' for Wolves program in October will be moving the den boxes out from under Lakota's pile of dirt and creating a more accessible and comfortable den box complete with new straw.