We are in the midst of breeding season at the Preserve. The Wolves howl considerably more during this time. New dominant positions have been established. Wa-ta-chee remains the strong Alpha Male of the pack. The new dominant female is Chito. I hesitate to call her Alpha Female as I have not seen Wa-ta-chee accept her as a mate. I have however seen her trying to dominate him as well as the other Wolves. She is a firm dominant female. Woha’s position has dropped from beta female all the way down to Omega. Yes, that’s correct as hard as it is to believe she is currently the lowest ranking pack member. Nita is one step above her but I believe that those two positions are fragile and could change at any time. The male positions in the pack have remained the same. Niko Akni remains the Beta Male and is currently helping his Father, Wa-ta-chee in preventing Waya from mating with any of the females. I will tell you that Waya is extremely persistent. Wa-ta-chee will chastise him for trying to mount a female and he will grovel, whine and beg his leader’s forgiveness only to try the same thing again only minutes later. The desire is strong in him.
Ohoyo is doing great in isolation. We all can see that she is happy to be alone but close enough to still get involved with the pack when she is in the mood. She loves to stand up on one of her houses and sing with the pack. You can also find her lounging up there much of the day. She has established a routine with me. Anytime I enter the Wolves enclosure, she gets up on her oveturned tub stands upright and gives me kisses through the fence. She is a bit more timid with me once I enter her enclosure since she doesn’t have her pack around her but I’m sure that will ease with time. I give her plenty of space. I’ve also given her a dining room in one of her houses, which she seems to really like. I put her food pan inside the house and she has been eating quite heartily. She still allows me to give her belly rubs.
I have noticed a positive change in the pack since Ohoyo has been removed. They seem to be friendlier with visitors. Ohoyo was always the one who chuffed and distressed howled with visitors she didn’t particularly care for. Then Woha assumed that position after her and the other females challenged Ohoyo’s position. Now that Woha is Omega, none of the Wolves in the main pack are showing any distress with visitors. My three adult Sons come to visit at least once a year. They have always liked my oldest Son, Chris but have not been thrilled when the two younger ones visit. I was surprised to see them get excited this year when my middle Son, John and his girlfriend Steph came for Thanksgiving. They howled for them and even allowed John to visit with them. John had assisted with bringing an injured Niko Akni to the Vet’s on Christmas Eve, 2007 and since that time, the Wolves really were stressed when he was around. This time they were happy to see him. Niko even came up to check him out when he came into the main enclosure. My youngest Son, Brian always comes for Christmas and the Wolves normally are pretty stressed until he leaves. This time, they were excited when he came. They howled for him! He stayed in the trailer at the Preserve and when they would hear him wake up in the morning they would howl. When he walked from the trailer to our home, they howled the entire time. It was not a distress howl either. I was pretty shocked and happy about this change. Ohoyo only distressed howled because of Brian during the Wolves Christmas Party. Other than that she was even okay with him. Wa-ta-chee remains the vigilant Alpha and won’t come up to the fence with visitors. He has got used to Kristi, our employee since Spring. He does come up to the fence to check her out.
The weather was beautiful Christmas Eve day and we decided to have their party then. Don and Brian cut two pines from the woods. A small one for Ohoyo and a charlie brown type tree for the pack in the main enclosure. I cut up 7lbs of summer sausage and 4lbs of sharp cheddar cheese to decorate the trees with. The Wolves also received plush toys. This is one of the enrichment activities we do annually with the proceeds from symbolic adoptions. I put together a video in two parts showing the festivities. Part I of the Wolves 2010 Christmas Party shows the tree being decorated with the eatable ornaments. I couldn’t put them up fast enough. In the past, we used to try and get most of the Wolves in isolation as we did this but this year we couldn’t because Ohoyo is living in the space. Part II shows them playing with their Christmas toys.
The Wolves woke up to a White Christmas, according to news reports, the first White Christmas since 1913 in Mississippi. Enjoy these pictures from our webcam captured by Chris Kirby early Christmas Morning. A special Thank You to Jos for creating the searchable program which allows us to capture these moments and Chris for being up early to capture the Christmas cheer. Wouldn't these make wonderful Christmas Cards?
You can watch our webcam the old fashion way, here. You may also check out the searchable webcam from our Preserve that Jos Ratsma aka BlueWolf has made us here.