Maya continues to have some strong hormonal influences that add to her dominance and make her a bit excited. Shadow is right by her side when she starts some dominance on Grizzer, he doesn’t usually intervene, but is more likely to watch and give a growl of support. Grizzer seems to take it all in stride and doesn’t appear to be agitated with her behavior. Maya has also been spending a lot of time on the carcass. In this week’s video, she takes possession of a deer hide and carries it up the hill. Maya continues to show alliances with Shadow and has been a contributing factor to Shadow’s recovery. The wolves will receive a Christmas treat of either Cornish game hens or turkeys, no doubt, Maya will take possession of whatever is brought into the enclosure.
Maya's dominance over Aidan hasn't calmed much this summer, but we have identified the triggers that make her excited. One is howling, a pack rally leads her to demonstrate her status. Other scenarios that are problematic for Aidan is the excitement of the daily med deliver in a meatball, the excitement of all the wolves jumping at the fence makes Maya redirect. We noticed another scenario that we must be mindful of; If Maya doesn't go into the pack holding area and Aidan does, she waits to dominate him when he comes out. We have this same problem with Malik and Grizzer. Our goal is to get all the pack into holding, so no one wolf is separated out, but Maya continues to be timid about the sliding gates overhead. One bad experience with a gate can cause a lifetime of negative conditioning. One other notable Maya situation is her unusual shed pattern. For whatever reason, she holds on to her undercoat around her neck, making it look like she has ruffles. She also has some residual guard hairs on the tip of her tail that doesn't shed. It makes her look a bit odd, but it makes it easier for observers to identify her.
We didn't get the extremely calm lazy days of summer behavior that we were hoping for, likely because the temperature fluctuations, and the cool Canadian pressure systems kept the wolves up and active. Maya continues to be a strong dominant influence over Aidan, but Aidan is dealing with it, and has been observed in social behavior with Maya, usually with him prancing toward her and inviting her to chase him. We have noticed Aidan and Shadow frequently resting on the den site.
Maya is doing well, and continues to demonstrate strong dominant female traits. Of course, Aidan is on the receiving end of most of these, but Grizzer and Denali have been the recipient of Maya's dominant bouts. When she's not showing status, Maya is the same mild mannered personality that we saw in her younger days. We also see the same pattern as observed by the 2009 Vermilion Community College Ethology course, Maya is more likely to lead a howl than any other wolf in the exhibit. How does Shadow handle this? As a calm, dominant male, that stands by and observes, but doesn't seem bothered by her surge in dominance.
Maya continues to perplex us with her behavior. One minute, she is very docile, with a significant amount of whining and social greeting, the next minute, she's dominating and growling to not only Aidan, but lately, Grizzer has been getting her attention. She is still very submissive to Shadow, and often paws in his face, actively running with him, as he tries to get some space. You may notice from Maya's picture, she has a bite wound under her chin. This was from Aidan, after a very intense dominance session initiated by Maya. Maya's been on antibiotics 3 times a day since last Tuesday. The bite seemed to affect her psychologically for about a day; she was subdued, and probably a bit pained. But, by the second day, she was back to her old self. It's a tough wound to heal as it is prone to opening, although that is good for drainage, and as you can see from the photo, she can still pick up a 25 lb beaver. One note to all wolf log readers, we are experiencing some difficulty with video editing software. The curator has purchased a new computer and an upgrade of software, but it may not be arriving for a few days. Please be patient, we know the importance of the video, and will solve it before the next YouTube is due on September 1st. In the meantime, a podcast is being produced today, discussing the behavioral observations of the summer Ethology and Pups at One Year participants.
Maya doesn’t seem to be joining in on any aggression toward Malik or Shadow, but if Grizzer is in a compromised position, she seems to come in for some action. It seems that the littermate social behavior of wrestling is still strong in these littermates. We also notice that Malik and Shadow tend to lie together more frequently than any of the other pack members, except during the winter season. Even though our wolves are spayed and neutered, Maya and Shadow seem to display the pair bonding behavior of a dominant pair, lying close to one another, parallel walking shoulder to shoulder, and spending many social greeting moments.
Maya has been showing more anxiety about going into the pack holding area lately. One characteristic about wolves is their hesitance to go into confined spaces, and have any objects over their head. The holding pen gates are on a pulley system, and are pulled upright to allow the wolves to enter. She’s always been wary, but recently she’s shown much more whining and anxiety before entering the gate. There was no noticeable incident that wolf care staff can recall, but even the slightest negative event can trigger a negative association with an object, location or situation. To get Maya into holding last week, one of the staff member’s dogs was brought to the outer edge of the fence to entice Maya. Maya is very social and shows strong interest in meeting other canids. We anticipate that she will be a great maternal influence on the wolf pups joining the pack in 2008.
Maya's predatory instincts have been working overtime lately. As the weather cools, it's time for the fall migration of songbirds, and unfortunately for them, they land in the wolf enclosures to feed on seeds from the lush vegetation in the enclosure. Most birds feed for a while, then fly out of the enclosure, but Maya has been tuned into their presence and has successfully stalked and killed a few birds in the last week. After Sunday night's feeding, this stalking behavior will likely diminish. Four beavers were fed yesterday, and with the cooler weather, the wolves have been eating well. It appears that Maya has consumed a large quantity of the beaver, and her movements are quite slow today. That'll be good for the migrating songbirds.
Maya is doing well, and while the male role seems very active, she manages to keep busy scouting the falling leaves, looking for rodent tunnels in the pen, responding to the chattering of red squirrels, and watching the last of the fall migratory songbirds as they rest before taking flight. The flocks of birds have decreased over the last few weeks as the falling leaves are increasing. It remains extremely dry here, and the hopes for good fall colors are fading as the leaves turn and drop to the ground within days.
The text and video for the rest of the Exhibit Pack logs is all the same, when the temperatures increase, the wolves become less active. It has been a bit of a challenge to give visitors a good sighting of the wolves when daytime temperatures have increased over 80 degrees on a regular basis. The wolf care staff use a sprinkler system on both enclosures to decrease the ambient air temperature by several degrees. The wolves are also called down to the front of the exhibit 3 times a day to draw them into the sprinkler and get a physical check on them. The videos this week for Maya, Grizzer, Malik and Shadow all show a typical summer day for wolves, stay cool by finding a good piece of cool dirt in the shade.
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