Malik has taken a different task to the fall migration predatory drive. Rather than waste energy stalking, chasing and likely not catching birds, Malik lies quietly among the mountain ash trees under the very berries that provide a good food supply to the song birds. As we get a few more frosts, the berries will become a bit fermented, and the birds will be a bit tipsy. This will likely improve Malik’s odds for catching something. Although, it appears he just likes to be in the mix, and a meal is not a requirement.
The logs this week are all the same. It’s been a busy week. We started with the discovery of some damage to an outside security fence behind the Retired Enclosure. It appears a wild wolf attempted to get into the secondary security fence behind the retired enclosure. There were a significant number of boards torn from the fencing with a lot of teeth marks. Surveillance video shows that it likely occurred on Sunday morning, although we don’t have a camera pointing directly at this fence, Shadow showed some tension and agitation. We had a group of students from Vermilion Community College volunteer with some invasive species removal. This is critical as the plants that they were pulling harden off with hundreds of burrs that get stuck in the wolves coats. Unfortunately, Aidan seemed to have the most stress about the work project. He was agitated while he was in holding, then after the students left and Aidan was released, he proceeded to have some fear avoidance behavior throughout the weekend. This created some interest from the other wolves that saw the dominant pack leader showing some weakness. We impose a lot of limits on activity in the wolf yard as winter approaches, but the removal of the invasive species is critical work that saves a lot of wolf frustration as staff try to pull burrs from their coat.
We still don’t know how Malik received a tear between his toes, but he is finished with his antibiotics, didn’t have an infection and is well on his way to healing. He is licking it which keeps it open, but also keeps it open. We can tell he is better, his spirits are up, he had a great time with the water hose on a recent hot day and he stole the shop vac hose when we were cleaning Grizzer’s pond.
Malik has an injury on his paw that happened sometime on Sunday night or early Monday morning. We didn’t see anything on the surveillance camera to indicate a scuffle between Shadow and Malik, but we have observed Malik sleeping in a small underground den daily during these heat advisory days. The injury looks like a tear, and it is likely that he got his toe caught coming out of the underground den. We are treating with antibiotics and are giving an anti-inflammatory daily. He showed dramatic improvement by Wednesday. He continues to lick it which keeps it clean, but makes it harder to heal.
The logs are all the same this week. As the curator, I work full time during the summer months and when I return back to school, my hours are reduced to part time status of 20 hours a week. Friday was my first day back, so the Friday routine of Youtube and log postings was affected. I hope to return to the Friday schedule as I get settled into a routine, but the 20 hours are dedicated to wolf care, and combined with other wolf care staff, the wolves won’t notice a change in schedule. As far as the wolves, we have had a very calm, socially active week. It’s also been over 80 degrees, which might have an influence on behavior. I will be back to posting individual logs next week.
Malik has been weighed twice this summer, which is quite an accomplishment considering he’s been a bit hesitant around the scale. The success is based on a trail and error discovery. Earlier this summer Malik was having some significant issues with flies. He’s been cautious about approaching staff because Shadow can get possessive and drive him away. He’s also not very fond of the curator who seems to be at every negative event in his life (vaccines, immobilizations, Grizzer’s dominance etc.), and we have an additive issue with Shadow not allowing some of Malik’s favorite staff into the enclosure anymore. So, we take Shadow and the curator, and put them in the front part of Grizzer’s enclosure (while Grizzer is locked in back), then Malik can have his favorite staff to himself and he is much more relaxed and willing to get fly ointment and step on the scale. Malik doesn’t have much of a weight record, but he was still 92 lbs at 11 years of age, so this 90.2 pound weight is consistent with his retired life.
We know the weather is cooling the arctic wolves are returning to their “Face Off – Invite Chase” behaviors. We also see a lot of competition for greeting staff and Shadow can limit staff interactions with Malik.
Written by Pups at One Year Program participant Kathy Rundquist: This weekend the Pups at One Year program attendees cleaned the retirement den and added cedar chips. Afterwards, Malik sniffed the enclosure and scent-rolled in the new bedding. He was alert and curious while greeting the attendees at the fence line. After having fly ointment applied, he scent-rolled in the vines and shrubs next to the den. Malik enjoyed finding pigs' ears during the daily enrichment.
Malik did extremely well with last week's vaccinations, here's hoping that he does the same with the start of the fly ointment season. We have are starting to see the biting flies return and I noticed some black spots on Malik's ears. Unfortunately, Shadow and Malik show strong avoidance behavior when they see or smell ointment on our hands. We have been fortunate to discover the cedar oil that can be applied inadvertently through scent rolling, but it would be nice if the tips of their ears could be covered.
We hope everyone has had a Happy 4th of July and continues to enjoy the days of summer. All wolves are doing well here, we are monitoring a growth that opened on Shadow’s cheek and are doing some repairs to the pond. Grizzer had a new concrete floor installed in his den because he was continually digging under the foundation. Luna’s growing back a winter coat, so we must be on the downhill side of summer. The Ethology Course begins on July 20th, we are sure to have some good behavioral observations to report next week.
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