The Wolves are in breeding season and that has brought about some behaviors that I wasn’t expecting. It appears that Niko Akni has taken the place of Waya as the Beta Wolf in the Wolf Howl Animal Preserve pack. As soon as the girls began Estrus mostly in the beginning of this month but some are just winding down, I noticed that he was harassing Waya continuously so he wouldn’t breed with the females. Wa-ta-chee seemed to sanction his actions and took advantage of them to catch some needed sleep. It was the females that I expected to be fighting but they amazingly enough did pretty well minus a few squabbles when they were in full estrus. I felt bad for Waya, as Niko is very big, focused and relentless when he puts his mind to something. I was just with them now and Niko is not allowing Waya to socialize with me either. He has to wait to come up for bellyrubs when Niko is sleeping. The amazing part of all of this is that I believe Niko Akni has just sexually matured this year so I didn’t expect him to all of a sudden pull rank on Waya. I understand that Wa-ta-chee does want his Son to be second in command, though. The girls seem to have accepted his new position and are paying him the respect that is due a Beta Wolf. Wa-ta-chee seems a bit more relaxed since his Son is backing him up and that is a very good thing. He even came up to the fence to see visitors twice in the past month. He didn’t hang around long but he did make an appearance and that was unheard of before. It looks like we’ve almost made it through another breeding season with no separations or serious wounds. We don’t allow visitors unless they are family or worked here during breeding season and I think this really helps keep everyone as calm as they can be. For those of you that are new to our newsletter, our males all have vasectomies so they can still mate but they do not reproduce. Our females are all intact.
Some of our family members were visiting for Christmas through the New Year so we postponed the Wolves Christmas celebration until after they left. The Wolves had a great time and we did the usual, we put up their own Christmas Tree in the main enclosure decorated with beef sausage and cheese. Their Christmas toys also adorned the tree. A good time was had by all and you can judge for yourself by watching the video.
I also made another Wolf video entitled, Wolves up close and personal for those of you that are new to WHAP. I know we picked up many new symbolic adoptive parents and though you’d enjoy associating a Wolfie face with a name.
Our Wolves photos appeared in the January 2010 issue of DeSoto Magazine. Ohoyo is a covergirl. It is a wonderful article made spectacular with the pictures of our Wolves gracing it. There is an online edition that you may access here. [note: the article begins on page 38 or click a direct link on the contents page 7.] The article had a few mistakes, like saying my husband, Don and myself were from Ohio and that we brought them with us which we didn’t. The facts are that the original three Wolves were from Ohio and we moved to Mississippi from Wisconsin. We bought the land and moved to the Preserve in 2003 and the Wolves came in 2005. They offered to print a retraction in next month’s issue but I didn’t feel that either thing was important enough for them to bother with. The correct information regarding Wolves in the article is what I feel should be paramount. This is a reminder though not to take everything you read for granted and if the information is vital, double check with the source if possible.
A picture of our Wolves eating a roadkilled deer is in a book written by Greg Martinez, DVM entitled Dr. Greg's Dog Dish Diet. The book is about feeding your dog. It has some really valuable information regarding commercial dog food and it’s effect on the health of your canine. The Doctor gives his recommendations on healthful eating for your canine and feline friends. The picture of our Wolves can be found on page 20.
I’d like to say a bit about each Wolf and what they’ve been up to. We will start with Wa-ta-chee; he has been the big man around the enclosure during this time of year. Every female vies for his attention. He just soaks it up. He has been displaying his dominance with the pack more than he normally does and everyone respects and acts appropriately.
Ohoyo is the prima Alpha Female. When Woha, a very dominant subordinate female started her proestrus, she though she’d be able to mate with Wa-ta-chee but Ohoyo true to form managed to keep her away and Woha has been very respectful of that fact. All was accomplished with no serious injuries, a few muzzle scars but nothing to worry about. I admire her keeping those three young females in line like she does. Her growl is far worse than her bite but she is truly fearless.
Niko Akni, well, I told you what that boy has been up to. He is taking his new position as Beta Male very serious. I was worried because he was "my boy” the most affection Wolf with my husband and me. He wouldn’t take the time to visit with me at all when he knew he had a job to do. I’m happy to report that he seems to be relaxing a tad and we had some very good cuddling time today. When we look at Niko Akni someone including us always says how big he is. He’s huge with a heart to match.
Woha, our dominant dynamo can be heard bossing everyone but her parents around at the Preserve. She is wonderful with me, very loving and submissive. She follows me around when I’m cleaning up and keeps me company. I always stop to give her some hugs and petting. She is relentless with her displays of assertiveness over the subordinate members of the pack. Fortunately, like her Mother, she is more growl than bite. I've also discovered that this is a Wolf I can actually play with and she knows it's play and keeps it as such. She lets me wrestle around with her and even pick her up. She is very affectionate with me and just loves when I let her be the center of attention. Woha has an underbite like her Grandfather Lobo did and her brother Niko Akni has. It doesn't seem to affect her ability to eat or nip her siblings. She is just an adorable, power packed little female who I suspect someday, hopefully when Ohoyo says she's had enough will take over as Alpha Female of the pack.
My sweet Chito, I can not say enough about this girl. She is big and beautiful. She greets me with a howl or whimpering and loves to sing into the night. Chito gets very excited when I pay attention to her and I have to be careful that she doesn’t knock me over. She means well but her size coupled with her zest is a bit overpowering. She is very respectful of her parents and Niko Akni but I’ve noticed that she is not so good with any other Wolf. Her and Nita used to be so close but she does show her dominance over her and is starting to do the same with Waya. Her and Woha get along like oil and water much of the time. Chito is doing very well though. She enjoys eating almost as much as Waya does.
It’s been heart wrenching for me to watch Waya, our handsome lone Wolf have to step down a few notches in the pack. I hated having to see him submit to Niko Akni who he was once served as Wolf Nanny to. I will admit that Waya is a food hog and he used to just harass poor Niko when he was eating. Wolves have long memories and this may have assisted Niko in taking this dominant role over Waya. Hunters have recently graced us with 11 deer this season for the Wolves to eat. Waya just dominates over the carcass unless Wa-ta-chee or now Niko step in. I will say that he did eventually allowed all of the Wolves to eat but not until after he had his fill. I did feel bad for him, his muzzle was quite bit up and he was now being chased away from the food but things seem to have settled a bit. He understands he has to pay proper respect to Niko Akni in order to stay a member of this pack.
Nita, our sweet little Omega is as adorable as ever. I just love her to pieces. She is getting along very well in the pack. She accepts her position wisely during this season in which high tension prevails within the pack. I sneak in little muzzle rubs and pats with her when I feel no one is paying attention and she is content with that. She has been really enjoying the deer and can usually be seen munching on a leg. Her howling is getting a bit better with maturity and she is another Wolf that normally greets me in song.
The Wolves are funny. We moved our residence from the trailer on the north side of their enclosure into a house on the south side at the Preserve. They are basically in the middle but it must seem to them because they can not see my truck that I come from far away and they greet me like they haven’t seen me in weeks. I love it. Maybe they were able to smell me through the paper thin walls of the trailer and can’t in the house, I don’t know but it is strange. I can go out on the porch of the house and call over to them and they do look but it must seem further away to them. They are very happy when I come to my office in the trailer for the day.
I’ve added some new pictures to their respective galleries. Enjoy.