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The Wolf Howl Animal Preserve Wolves in February by Maria Ferguson


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waya_020911nl.jpg We had another significant (by mid-south standards) snowfall on February 9th, which gave us 6 inches of powder in a matter of a few hours.  It started snowing in the early afternoon so I was able to spend some time with the Wolves before it got dark and as the snow was falling.  It was fun looking at it from their perspective.  I noticed that they were all looking up in the sky so I did the same and it was spectacular though somewhat disorienting.  I’d really like to know what goes through their minds.  I’m sure it’s something like now where the heck is this stuff coming from?  They all like snow, though.  I also heard the sounds of a plane overhead and saw that Woha seemed to be concerned and was following the sound.  I know that all the Wolves that I’ve met in my lifetime do not like aircraft.  I believe that they think it is a very large bird of prey aiming to swoop down and steal their food.  I can only draw the conclusion that this must be one of those things that is inherent knowledge because all of the Wolves I’ve seen react like this are captive ones.  Now, I do see buzzards fly very high over their nita_020911nl.jpgenclosure from time to time but they have NEVER landed inside or even near it.  At the time of this snowfall, breeding season had just officially ended for our females and they were pretty much rebuffing any male that came within a foot of them.  It is quite a change of attitude in just a few short days when they vied for their attention.  Wise, Wa-ta-chee knew it was over but Niko Akni and Waya were still hoping to get in on some more of the action. 


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A wonderful thing that happens when it snows at the Preserve is that there is no sound other than that of nature.  Cars stay off the road and humans are staying warm indoors.  It’s one of my favorite times.  I just stand outside in the silence and drink up the beauty of all that is around me, the Wolves included.  I composed a short video of the Wolves, Snow Day.  Nita tried to grab the video camera seconds after I started shooting.  Luckily I caught a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision and was able to pull the viewfinder away quick enough to avoid the camera being snatched away.  She’s such a little imp sometimes.  Nita can be as sweet as sweet can be but make no mistake; this is a Wolf in every sense of the word.  She is perhaps the most cunning one that I have met.  Waya was in playful mood catching snowflakes on his tongue and trying to initiate play with the other Wolves.  I threw snowballs at Chito and she was going bananas, scooting around and rolling on her back.   I managed to get some really good still pictures of the Wolves while it was snowing and some more the next day.  You can view them in the following galleries:

Niko Akni pictures

Nita pictures

Waya pictures

Woha pictures

Wa-ta-chee pictures

Chito pictures

Wolf pictures, The Pack Winter 2011

On February 14th, the Wolves had a very special Valentine’s Day meal, whole fish.  They have more fun rolling around on them.  I took some fun pictures of the occasion and have posted them here.  You may click on them for a larger view. 

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The last two weeks have been warm, the daffodils are blooming, we’ve had our first tornado watch (and another severe weather alert for tonight), some of the trees are budding and the Wolves are starting to shed.  This is the earliest I have seen them do this since 2005.  So, I think it’s safe to say that an early spring has sprung in NE Mississippi.  Animals are a great predictor of weather.  They went into their season a few weeks early this year and now all signs are that we will have early spring weather. The puzzle pieces now all fit.  In September of 2009, I noticed that the Wolves were already getting a very heavy winter coat.  The winter of 2009/2010 was one of the coldest on record for this part of the country.  This year they didn’t get as thick as they normally do and sure enough they really didn’t need to.  It’s amazing.  After a few more years of living with the Wolves, I should be able to pretty much predict what kind of seasons we will experience here.   Maybe the Wolves and I will get do our own WHAP weather forecast!

nita_020911nl-2.jpg Everyone is healthy.  Niko Akni had something in his right eye for a day last week when we had high winds.  I hated that for him but he allowed me to bathe it while Don gave him belly rubs and scratches and by the next day he was good as new.  With breeding season behind us, the Wolves are much more loving to us humans.  They are also eating up a storm.  Chito, Nita and Ohoyo are caching their food, which is typical female Wolf behavior at this time of year.  They are making sure that there will be plenty for pups that would be born in the next month.  Our Wolves will not have pups though as our males have all had vasectomies.  Woha isn’t stashing her food though.  Being the Omega, she is usually chased away from the food by Chito; so when she gets the opportunity to grab some, she eats it.  Waya and Wa-ta-chee become much more willing to socialize with their caretakers as the stress of breeding season wanes.  I absolutely love this time of year.  Tonight I played with all of them.  Some are more willing to play than others are.  All of them play good with me but I do make sure never to play rough with them, as I would not win.  I do silly things like dance, clap my hands, hide behind trees, hoot and tell them I’m gonna get them.  Some react by running away and then coming back for more.  Others try to steal stuff off of me, hats, gloves, etc.  Chito gets all goosey and scoots around and bats me with her huge paws.  Woha is the best to play with.  She does slow twisting turns of her body as she then lowers her head to the ground with her muzzle wide open like she’s gonna get me.  She is totally playing, though and it’s very cute. 

March is birthday month at Wolf Howl and you all know that means PARDEE!  So, stay tuned for updates on their parties in the next newsletter. 

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