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Wolves in January 2014 by Maria Ferguson

It’s been the coldest winter since the ten years we have been in Mississippi.  One morning we actually were as low as 5 degrees.  The Wolves don’t seem to mind.  In fact, I believe it made for a rougher breeding season as they were livelier.  We had two injuries which I did not witness but have my suspensions on who was responsible.  Waya suffered a bite or scratch above his eye and Ohoyo had a bite on her ear.  Waya’s injury happened two weeks ago and is healing quite nicely.  It’s not even noticeable.  Ohoyo’s just happened last week.  There are no signs of infection but it was a pretty big wound.  She must have gotten too close to the fence in one of her arguments with the other two girls.  Waya’s injury I imagine was caused by Niko as he really pushes the boundary with him.  We are thankfully winding down.  I believe the three girls are now officially done with their estrus.  Now is a fun time for caretakers because they all get so cuddly and affectionate.

You will see in this video, that it was hard for me to get the Wolves to stay away to get good pictures.  They were all soliciting affection.  So, I named this video, In Your Face Wolves.

I put up the new adoption pictures of our beautiful Wolves for 2014.  They were all taken in the month of January 2014.  You can purchase a Wolf Adoption kit, here.

woha-01052014.jpgWe had Doc Harland out for their annual exam.  Since he gave the males vasectomies, they are not too happy to see him.  They really carry on.  They do their very best to intimidate him so that he won’t enter their enclosure.  It’s funny because the only Wolf who doesn’t get upset is Waya and we surmise that is because he was the first one put out for their field vasectomies at the Preserve and doesn’t remember Wolves being taken out of the enclosure.  They also never held it against Don and I, even though it was us who darted them.  The girls witnessed the whole thing and distressed howled the entire time.  We also had our annual inspection from the Fish & Wildlife and were in total compliance and our permit was granted for another year.

The biggest challenges for caretakers in this cold weather are keeping a clean unfrozen water source for the Wolves and deicing locks.  I’ll personally be glad when spring arrives.  The Wolves enjoy eating the ice blocks from their water buckets; they will actually fight over them sometimes.  During the coldest days we had to haul water out to them several times a day.  When it hovers around freezing, they usually keep the buckets open with a small hole but in the bitter cold, they couldn’t keep up with it.  They have the den to go into if they get too cold but honestly they use it rarely in the winter.  We make sure they have clean dry straw in their just in case.  They use the den far more in the warmer weather to escape the heat than in the cold even bitter winter weather we’ve had.

ohoyo-01202014.jpgThey have been getting so much deer from local hunters and neighbors.  They are happy and now refuse to eat anything but.  Luckily we have two freezers full to the brim with deer.  The last day of the season was yesterday and two hunters showed up at dusk with three deer.  That was a great ending to a bountiful season for our Wolves.  We express our sincere gratitude to them.  This is what the Wolves should be eating.  That is evident in their passion for it as well as their digestive health.  I would also like to thank Don for the hours he spends skinning and cutting up the deer for our spoiled rotten charges.  It’s a messy job and he does it so well.  The deer bones I pick up in the enclosure are as clean of meat and fur as they can be.  The skulls can be displayed in a museum they are so clean.  The smaller bones they actually eat, like the ones from the rib.  They really waste little of what a deer has to offer.  They are not fond of the lungs or kidneys and we don’t give them the intestines or bowels.  Everything else is thoroughly enjoyed by them.

There has been lots of howling going on.  The local wild coyotes are also in their breeding season and our Wolves howl back and forth to them.  Nothing is more beautiful to hear on a cold winter's night than the sound of the wild.  We sit outside with just the moon and stars for light and enjoy the song of the Wolf and the yip yap of our coyote neighbors.  We have even heard our Wild Red Wolves join in the chorus on occasion.  Howling is done for so many reasons.  The Wolves howl in response to other howls, sirens, greeting humans when they arrive, warding off strangers (distress howl) and sometimes just because they feel like singing.  We are so lucky to be able to hear this sound as most of the world can no longer do that because of the low number of Wolves on most of our planet.  Many of the neighbors who live close to the Preserve tell us they enjoy listening to them.  Some of them even howl with them.


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