Normally, we top one of the cedars or pines at the Preserve for the Wolves and then decorate it with cheese, sausage and their plush toys. Either my Son, Brian or my Husband, Don video record while the other helps me decorate the tree quickly while the Wolves are mulling around and eating the goodies almost as fast as we are putting them up. This year, Brian wasn’t able to make in down from Wisconsin for Christmas. Both Don and I were a bit melancholy in addition to feeling pretty punk with colds and the Christmas Day forecast wasn’t a good one, rain, sleet and cold. During the day on Christmas Eve, I came up with an alternative plan. I discussed it with Don and we both felt the Wolves would enjoy this bit of a twist on their usual Christmas celebration. We decided to wrap their presents and let them open them. We knew it would be a mess to clean up and we weren’t disappointed with those results. I was hoping that they wouldn’t get spooked. I ran out and bought takeout cartons for their sausage and cheese. I found some boxes and put the cartons and their Coleman Plush Bison and Moose toys inside of them before I wrapped them up. I didn’t put Ohoyo’s in a box because I was afraid she would be fearful of it, so I just wrapped hers with Christmas paper. I must say that they really did enjoy this, except for Wa-ta-chee but he never likes the hubbub of a party. He did get sausage and cheese plus his present after we cleaned everything up though. It also lifted our spirits and made us laugh. We love to see them having a good time. I put together some highlights from the celebration in the video below. A Merry Wolf Christmas.
The Wolves have been receiving lots of venison from hunters again this year. We had to get another freezer just to accommodate the extra meat. This is great because it is their favorite food. Last year we had enough venison to add to their diets a few times a week through pretty much of the spring. We are hoping to go a bit longer with it this year. When the Wolves eat deer it is quite evident that is what they are suppose to be eating. Their excitement level is up; you see more evidence of the pack structure as far as who gets to eat first and what they get to eat. It is much more natural for their digestive systems and that is evident in their scat.
Speaking of scat, we did fecals on the Wolves this winter when Doc Harland came for their annual look see. I’m happy to report that they are all parasite free and look great according to our Vet. We do work on that and it can be challenging but it has paid off. Their good health is evident in the way they look and feel. I attribute this to their good diets and some preventatives we administer for heartworm and external parasites. I’ve gotten giving heartworm preventatives down pretty much without a hitch. Administering Frontline Plus is not as easy though. Remember that Wolves have a very strong sense of smell. Some of them know it is in my pockets before I even crack open the seal. Other’s are alerted by the sound it makes when I do open the vessel. I try and cough when I snap it, but they have even figured that out now. Lately, I’ve been using Don as a distraction and it seems to go smoother with him there. This past month we used bacon (which they really love) as a lure. The Wolves, who were older when they came to us and not properly socialized, Ohoyo, Wa-ta-chee and Waya, are the hardest to get. Chito is the hardest of the Wolves who were born here and that is because she is sharp and sees the older Wolves distressed and assumes that what I’m doing is not good. If I pursue her relentlessly, she has been conceding and lying on her back for me but for just a split second, so I have to be fast. I’m always glad when that day is done.
Breeding season has begun for our Wolves. It is always an emotionally charged time of year in the Wolf enclosure. As a caretaker, I try to get my job done and leave them be. It’s not a good time to impose myself on them. It is evident that they appreciate that. There is too much going on in their world at this time. The most apparent is Chito trying to keep everyone else from mating. Last year, during breeding season she took the position of Alpha away from her Father, Wa-ta-chee and she chose not to mate. This year she pair bonded with Waya but I’ve thinking it is just for mating purposes as she still allows her brother Niko Akni to boss Waya around. Niko Akni is not happy that Waya has been selected but does support Chito in her position as Alpha. Chito fiercely intimidates the other females so that she can possibly prevent them from taking a mate. It is all very interesting and complex to watch. Our males have all had vasectomies so there will be no pups but they still try to mate and this year Waya will succeed. There is a lot of bickering and posturing going on. I will be glad when peace is restored to the WHAP Wolf enclosure. If you would care to read more about Wolves annual cycle, click here, Wolves Breeding Season.
For those of you who received Wolf adoptions for Christmas from WHAP, I’d like to give you a brief summary of the personality of the Wolves in our Pack.
Ohoyo once she loves you, it’s for life. Also loves to give her female caretaker open mouth kisses. If you don’t know her very well don’t turn your back on her or you will get a Wolfie nip on your bottom.