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Summer at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve by Maria Ferguson


The hot weather has officially arrived at the Preserve.  We had a cool spring as far as this part of the country goes which makes the now high temperatures harder to handle.  The Wolves are pretty sluggish.  We try and cool them off with their fans, ice cubes and ice cream.  I bought them a kiddie pool but haven’t tried it out yet, maybe this coming week.  Last time I had one Wa-ta-chee decided to move it around by tugging it with his powerful teeth and jaws while it was full of water. See archived 2007 video! He succeeded but tore up the pool within minutes.  I’m hoping now that they are older, they will just enjoy a dunk or two.

We had a surprise inspection by the USDA APHIS division last week and I’m happy to say that we were once again, and as always, in total compliance.  We work hard at it.  They inspect the animals for health issues.  They walk around the perimeter of the enclosure and look for any weaknesses in the structure.  They check our refrigerator, freezers, food storage areas, etc.  Our medicines and preventatives are checked to make sure they are in date.  We keep records of our Veterinarian visits along with our care plans, which are also inspected by this division of the USDA.  I’m always proud of what we are doing here and gratified to hold a license that is in total compliance with their rules and regulations for proper animal husbandry. 

canis_rufus_060113-2nl.jpgFor many years now I suspected that we either had Red Wolves or Red Wolf Coyote Hybrids living wild at the Preserve.  My husband photographed the animal with a pup in July of 2004 but it was far away and the picture wasn’t good enough to positively identify the animal.  We have seen the animal run through the fields and it is considerably larger than a coyote.  We’ve also had its picture on our field camera but the night vision is not in color making it hard to identify. What we were positive of though, is that it wasn’t a coyote.  Last summer, I saw what appeared to be 3 Wolf pups just a scampering through our field. Well, on June 1st around 5:00pm I caught a glimpse of the Wolf down by our creek.  Luckily my camera was sitting on the table I was able to get off a few good shots before he bolted.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have the proof I wanted.  Red Wolves, Canis Rufus, are alive and well in the wild at WHAP.  Woo Hoo.  We have been hearing them howl in the evening looking for their kids (pups).  With the species being extremely endangered, I’m ecstatic that they have found a haven here.

woha_062013.jpgOur Wolves are doing well.  I believe that Chito is grooming Woha for the position of Omega.  It’s not going to be an easy task.  I do see that Woha is at most times willing to do her bidding but every once in awhile she protests.  It will be interesting to see what happens this fall and winter when the hormonal changes of the breeding season occur.  I believe that will set her position in stone but you never know.  These guys surprise me sometimes.

Woha has taken it once again upon herself to be the spokes Wolf when visitors come.  She will always distress howl at least for bit to warn the strangers not to enter the pack’s territory.  She usually settles down if I do their demonstrations first so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  It gives her something else to concentrate on.

Niko_akni_062013.jpgNiko Akni is making our outdoor work harder this season.  He freaks out when we try and use a chainsaw.  Forget using it, if he sees it he freaks out and I’m not talking about in his enclosure anywhere they he can hear or see it.  Aye ………….  Not a Big Bad Wolf more like a fraidy cat.  He has proclaimed himself, once again Lord of the Ice Buckets.  We bring the Wolves ice on hot days, they love to chew and lay on it.  He dominates the buckets.  It’s funny to watch him try and claim more than one when I set them a distance apart.  I usually wind up playing referee and hand out ice cubes to those that are intimated by him.

Waya spends most of his time in the den during the day.  He hates Bees.  He’s the second Wolf I’ve known who suffers from melissophobia.  The other was Thor, the Alpha at the Preserve in Wisconsin that I worked at.  Again, Big Bad Wolf?

Chito has been whining a lot I know she still misses her Sister, Nita.  Those two were so close.  Her howls are most times frantic, see video below.  She demands a lot of belly rubs from me.  She did get to meet one of her adoptive Mommy’s all the way from Australia this month.  That was nice for her.  She gave her a sniff.  She also rubbed up against the fence trying to get her scent.

ohoyo_062013.jpgOhoyo is doing great.  It seems that Woha is visiting with her a lot through the fence.  Probably complaining to her Mom about Chito.  Ohoyo seems to enjoy these visits.  The Wolves always go to that end of the enclosure when they howl.  I believe they still ask her permission to sing.









Wa-ta-chee is wonderful.  His summer coat feels so clean.  He still doesn’t like visitors, they make him very nervous but when they leave he always wants me to give him some belly rubs and butt scratches.  It’s like he needs it to unwind.  One of his Adoptive Papa's came to visit all the way from Massachusetts.  He has been adopting Tach since he arrived at the Preserve.  I was honored to meet Matthew Marcano and his wonderful parents, too.  Here is a picture of Matt's bedroom wall with all of Tach's adoption photos.  I love this.

nita_marker.jpgI purchased grave markers for Nita and the two Huskies’ that have gone before her.  We had slate markers for the dogs but they were flat on the ground and deer run over them and crack them so we went for upright markers that we can remove when we mow.  It’s easy maintenance and looks nice.  I would like to thank Lynn Gray for sending the funds for Nita’s.  Here is a picture of what they look like.  They were all outstanding animals and who deserve to be honored properly.  They will never be forgotten.


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