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Springtime Wolves at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve by Maria Ferguson


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The ground in the Wolf enclosure is dotted with tufts of fur so are the fences and trees which they rub against.  They are shedding that thick fluffy undercoat for the warmer weather which will soon be here.  It is a sure sign that spring has arrived at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve.

Niko_Akni_easter2012-1.jpgMost of the Wolves enjoyed their Easter Egg Hunt.  Ohoyo like Wa-ta-chee has never been into the party scene so really was not impressed with this year’s festivities.  Watch the video to see her reaction.  It’s pretty funny.  We have been having the Easter Egg Hunt since 2006.  The last few years we haven’t been able to move them into the other enclosure because that is where Ohoyo lives now so I have to hide the eggs with the Wolves right there.  This year Don had an idea of throwing their jelly beans as a distraction while I hid eggs but it didn’t work too well.  They are very focused with the task at hand so distracting them becomes extremely difficult.  I made lots of eggs so once they started cracking some open, I had time to really hide them. They really do retain alot of information. They remember that I hide them in the trees and you can observe them while watching the video all looking up in the trees in their territory.  Once the Wolves find an egg they proceed to delicately open them and then eat the yolks.  They are not much for the whites and never the shells.

 

 

After the Easter party was over, I was cleaning up and ready to head out of the enclosure when I noticed that Woha seemed to be chasing something that Nita really wanted.  I started video taping.  As it turned out it was an eastern fence lizard which had already dropped half of it’s tail.  The Wolves love to play with them.  The lizards play dead in hopes that the Wolf becomes bored with the game and leaves it alone.  I find all types of live lizards all over their enclosure.  I even rescue them from the water buckets.  They are pretty fast at getting up the trees and fence so most live among the Wolves in relative harmony.  This video demonstrates the pecking order.  Woha is a Beta Female and Nita is the Omega.  Watch how Nita grovels and begs for a chance to play with the lizard.

wa-ta-chee_easter2012-1.jpgWa-ta-chee is getting along pretty well with the pack.  Every once in awhile Chito does remind him that she is boss but nothing major and he knows he has to submit.  It’s funny to see Wa-ta-chee with Niko Akni now.  The roles have reversed.  Niko used to just adore his Father and was always approaching him submissively with obvious affection.  I now have seen Wa-ta-chee doing just that to him.  Niko has been very gentle with him. 

When Wa-ta-chee first came to us, he was a very friendly Wolf.  When he took over as Alpha he then became more leery of us humans and thus not as friendly.  Now that his position has changed I’m seeing him become more affectionate with me by the day.  Practically every time I’m in their territory he is seeking me out.  We even had a chorus howl together which choked me up when at the end he licked at my chin and mouth.  I think he knew I had his back during the change of guard and our bond has definitely become stronger.

Waya loves for me to get that undercoat off of him and will sit or stand by me as long as I’m willing to pull it off.  Niko and Waya have been having some issues.  Waya is trying to stay out of Chito and Niko’s way.  The only time he has problems with this is at meal times.  Waya is a foodie and will always take the risk of eating out of turn.  Niko does not take well to this and there is usually a scuffle between them.  If I serve something Niko really loves like venison, he is usually too preoccupied with getting a good piece and Waya is left to eat in peace.

the_pack_040612-12.jpgThe pack dynamics have totally flipped flopped these past two years and the younger Wolves are now calling the shots.  Chito is a very strong leader and does not put up with any shenanigans.  As a human it is sometimes hard to watch her discipline but in her defense no one has been seriously injured.  In the wild, I’m sure she would have been an Alpha female she has all the right tools.

The Wolves had some old friends visit a few weeks ago.  Susan and Mike Kline were Volunteers here when the first three Wolves came to us.  Then when the pups were born they visited frequently to help us socialize them.  Unfortunately they live almost 2 hours away.  The Wolves were so happy to see them.  They chorus howled when they arrived which made Susan very happy.  I brought her into the enclosure to visit the younger Wolves and they were very excited and all came to greet her.  Chito really likes her and wanted to scent roll on her so we had to be careful she wouldn’t knock her over.  She’s so strong and rubs against you so hard.  What really blew us away was when Waya approached her and he actually touched her hand with his nose.  Susan is only the third person who has ever touched Waya.  Before I get lots of calls and emails asking if you could come and touch the Wolves, the answer is NO.  Our Wolves fear most humans.  Susan put in her time to get to know them.  Her and Mike have been coming here since 2005 on a regular basis.  The key factor in her success with them is that she was here when they were still pups and handled them.  She also has been a guardian for rescued Wolfdogs for many years and understands how they react.  It takes a long time to befriend them as they are born with a strong inherent fear of humans.  Any sudden movements or loud noises send them scurrying away.

ohoyo_easter2012-1.jpgIf you would like to see our Wolves, private tours start May 1st.  Check here to set up an appointment.

 

 

 

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