Wow we really had some HOT weather at the end of June and beginning of July. 105 and 107 were typical temperatures during those days. We also had ZERO rain. It was tough keeping the animals comfortable. We had their outdoor fans going, tubs full and brought them cool treats like ice cream and ice cubes. We restricted tour times to either 8:30am or 4:30 PM and will continue doing so throughout August. It’s too risky to have them stressed out during the hottest part of the day in the summer.
I’ve collected some video in July. I put it together for you to see what they were up to and ways we were trying to keep them cooler. You will notice during the ice cream scene that the lens was cloudy from the humidity. I kept stopping to clean it off but it would just fog up again. It was HOT. You will notice in the beginning of this video the Wolves participate in a rally. Wolves rally to bring the pack together in solidarity. In this particular case they were letting each other know that I had entered the enclosure with my camera. They were excited and wanted to share that with the rest of the pack. Our Wolves rally in the morning when they wake up and most times before they howl. In the Wild, Wolves rally for all of those reasons as well as before a hunt. You will notice that Nita; the Omega is the first to approach me. She always tries and steals my camera. You will also notice that Wa-ta-chee has the run of the territory again and Chito even allows him to perch on the platform. He has at least for now settled in his new position as a lower ranking pack member. You will see Niko Akni being dominant over Waya. It appears that the younger Wolves want to hold all the top positions in the pack. Waya is reluctant to submit to Niko but he also doesn't challenge him at this point. We will see what happens when their testosterone levels rise during the fall and subsequent breeding season. There is a segment of our Wolves eating ice, which they love on a hot summer day. You will see that Nita the Omega is following protocol and begging ice off of higher ranking pack members in particular Chito. What's funny is that at one point she has a pan of ice all to herself but purposely moves over to another pan where she must ask permission to eat it. She cracks me up. It's like she simply doesn't enjoy something unless she is begging, borrowing or stealing it from another Wolf. You will see scenes of Ohoyo and Wa-ta-chee in their tubs. Normally they are splashing away but because I wanted them to so I could video record it, they didn't. The last scene is of the Wolves enjoying an ice cream treat courtesy of the Candice Smith Family, thank you. We always give Ohoyo hers first and then bring the rest in to the main pack on the wagon so we don't get mauled. They love it. You will notice that both Wa-ta-chee and Waya participated in the ice cream feast. Neither of them risked trying to get the ice. They choose their potential battles wisely.
Nita, our Omega suffered a grand mal seizure during a morning tour on July 5th. It was the first one we saw her have and hope that it will be the last. Lots of things were going on at the Preserve that day and the days prior to her seizure. The weather was unbearably hot, the Power Company had sprayed a herbicide to kill the trees under the power lines adjacent to the Wolf enclosure and we had weeks of constant visitors. All of these factors or one of them could have contributed or caused her seizure. Our Veterinarian has advised us to just observe her for the time being to see if she has more seizures and if there seems to be a pattern if she continues to have them. We are hoping that it is something we could control rather than her neurological makeup. Fortunately she has not suffered another one that we know of. She is eating well and seems to be in good spirits.
While my youngest Son Brian was down visiting from Wisconsin, we decided to use his muscle to help us get a dead 40 foot tree down in the Wolf enclosure. The Wolves know him. The younger Wolves met him when they were small pups and really like him, especially Niko Akni and Nita. The older Wolves don’t get too upset about him coming in their territory since he has been visiting us since they were around 8 months old. What one of the Wolves did get upset about was the chainsaw before it was even turned on. My husband Don was carrying it and Brian had a ladder. The next thing I know Niko Akni is freaking out trying to figure out how to get out of Dodge. So, I had to ask the men to take out the ladder and chain saw then we tried to bring them back in one at a time. It definitely was the chainsaw. Not only did we have to remove it from the enclosure but put it away in the shed so he could no longer see it before he finally settled down. Don had to use an axe. It was very HOT and I worried about him exerting himself but not as much as we would have worried about a Wolf who was afraid. Wolves are very focused which they need to be to hunt successfully. When it comes to fear focus though it can be quite intense and scary. They have a one track mind and won’t stop until whatever is scaring them has been removed or they are able to escape it. The story ends well with the tree coming down without hitting fences or Wolves. It is something we will not have to worry about now when the wind kicks up.
Wolves worry about different things. Niko seems to be one of our biggest worrywarts. His Dad, Wa-ta-chee is too. Each Wolf has it’s own little idiosyncrasies. Here are some examples: Waya is afraid of new shoes or boots. Wa-ta-chee is afraid of new people and will never come to the fence even to check you out. Ohoyo, Wa-ta-chee and Chito hate Frontline Plus and will literally run away from me when they know I have it on my person. Niko Akni will panic if something is flapping in the breeze, panic. Woha and especially Nita are impish in nature and will try to steal anything new that is brought into the enclosure. That includes cell phones, cameras, bowls, etc. All of the Wolves get upset if visitors approach their enclosure without one of us caretakers being present. They will chuff and distress howl. So, if you ever visit Wolf Howl and one of us humans aren't out waiting for you when you arrive, please stay in your vehicle until we come and get you. It will make your visit with them a lot better. Wolves are born with an inherent fear of humans and even though our pack has been human socialized their fear of strangers remain strong. We can never just have one plan of action when working with Wolves there always has to be at least a few backup ones as well. It's very tough trying to outsmart a Wolf. We have our jobs cut out for us. That all being said we love working and learning more about them and would not have it any other way.