As you can see in the picture, Lucas is almost aproaching his 13th birthday. From all the retired pack, he is the one whose age is more noticeable, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying some play time with his littermates. Today he chased Lakota around the enclosure, and was also observed play bowing to her in response. It is good to see they still have stamina to play!
During the medical exam for the arctics, the retired wolves watched intently on the action, Lucas seemed to be having a good day today. He was alert and very stable. Sorry, no photos, we were focused on the main pack today.
Lucas is slowing down a bit. Of all the wolves in retirement, he seems to show his age. He stll manages to get his fair share of a carcass. Lately, bow hunters have been bringing in scraps of deer, usually the vetebrae with a head remaining. These have been fed to the retired pack along with their regular meal. It appears that Lucas has taken to eating the meat off the vetebrae and sleeping with the deer head in the den box. It seems to keep the possession from the MacKenzie and Lakota while he gets some sleep.
During our last program called the Workin' for Wolves weekend, participants did many enclosure enrichment and maintenance projects. In addition, the group generously donated a brand-new single wheelbarrow to take the place of one of our old ones, which was literally on its last leg. The wolf care staff appreciated this generosity very much, as these pieces of equipment are used often for maintenance work and for feeding. In this photo, Lucas is checking out the new wheelbarrow that was used to take the deer out to the retired pack.
Lucas has completely shed his winter undercoat and is maintaining a sleek, physique. He has been actively feeding on carcasses and competing with Lakota who generally eats everything in sight. It appears that he actually likes the warmer weather, I think it feels good on his old bones. He's still most often found in the den boxes in the exhibit.
Lucas's eye condition is greatly improved this week. We also noticed a brighter look to his eyes and a willingess to see out contact from fellow staff members as well as fellow wolves. He's created a new bed underneath the remaining spruce branches from a recent tree felling. Wolf care staff will be placing straw there to make him more comfortable. The cooler mornings have created a bit of stiffness for him, but by mid-morning he's moving around well.
Lucas actively greeted Donna Prichard when she came in for a check today. He had much more social interaction with Donna than he has with the regular wolf care staff all month. He seems to be much more active today and less focused on the Exhibit Pack. Behaviors of individual wolves can change on a daily basis.
Lucas continues to enjoy the den boxes, despite Lakota's effort to bury them in her excavated dirt pile. He's had to shift to the far box to avoid flying dirt and to get in the doorway. The wolf care staff plans to level off Lakota's pile, but she seems to be enjoying the height advantage it gives her. She can climb on the pile and climb on top of the den boxes, so for the meantime, Lucas will just have to live with the 3rd house on the right.
Lucas seems to be more inactive than Mackenzie and Lakota, especially during hot days like yesterday. It is not easy to deal with temperatures of 93 F with the dense undercoat they still have. Wolf care staff helps with the shedding by combing them every morning. But as you can see, sometimes they need to keep cool inside their den boxes.
Lucas seeks the comfort of the denbox and has spent most of the in it. Lucas is thoroughly enjoying the retired life. He took possession of a frozen turkey that was confiscated from Maya during a enclosure enrichment session. Maya was less than thrilled about losing her turkey, but needed to save room for her beaver later in the day.
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.