Bringing up Bison


Wolf Park would like to welcome our newest additions. As visitors may have noticed, our bison herd has dwindled this past summer as we prepared to bring in new arrivals from another facility. We want to keep our herd healthy and part of doing so means the arrival of fresh cows in the group.

These one and three-year-old cows came to us from Van Meter Buffalo Ranch. The older one may be carrying a calf, which will mean additional new blood in the spring. They are currently getting to know the rest of the herd through the fence. Once everyone seems comfortable, introductions will begin and we’ll have a growing herd of bison once more.

Originally bison were brought to Wolf Park as representatives of other North American species during the early days of the park when we thought we’d grow past our wolf origins to encompass more species. They remained as part of our wolf and bison predator/prey study, in which we allowed the public to see how little large, healthy animals have to fear from wolves. Since the conclusion of the demonstrations, the bison have moved into a new role as trainees of a unique species for our seminars and intern programs. Trainers have begun working with the bison to teach them targeting and luring. The trainers have dreams of moving on to shape recognition and other behaviors. The bison are happy to join the training sessions, if it means apples and sweet feed.

Posted in Bison | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Straw Wolves and Wildflowers

Autumn is arriving in Indiana. The leaves are beginning to turn colors, the wolves are growing their winter coats, and the annual Trail of Scarecrows is making its appearance in Prophetstown State Park. Every year, Prophetstown invites non-profits and clubs to construct scarecrows to be displayed around the park. This is Wolf Park’s fourth entry and our pack of straw wolves is growing.


“Twiggy”, our howling wolf from last year has made a second appearance in the park and is now joined by a new packmate. Volunteer Kelly Praiswater and intern Khaz Brooks can take the main credit for our straw pack, with assistance from interns James and Brenden. Also in our display this year is a lovely collection of painted puppy pumpkins.

Visitors to Prophetstown can vote for their favorite scarecrows via penny donations in the Prophetstown Nature Center. The donations will go toward supporting education, arts, and history programs at the State Park. If you’re coming to Wolf Park, consider also visiting the state park to hike their trails, visit the farm and see the army of the scarecrows decorating the area.

Even with the cooling temperatures, flowers can still be found around Wolf Park. Our reclaimed farm field, which will eventually grow into bat and quail habitat, is in bloom with a gorgeous assortment of wildflowers. Park manager, Dana, took the time to explore the field and photograph some fantastic blooms. We’re proud to be providing assistance to butterfly and bee populations in Indiana.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picassos with Paws

Once a year we break out the animal-safe paint and let the park residents try their paws at art. What started as a chance for just the wolves explore their artistic sides has now blossomed into every species getting a chance to play along. Some actively enjoy painting, some just like trailing for treats. Whatever their interest, it’s enriching for both species and leads to some lovely pictures.

Renki had a hard time this year. Usually he enjoys painting but he moves in awkward lunges now and it was hard for him to balance on the paper. He ended up lying in the paint, which didn’t do much for his artistry, but it led to a colorful wolf.

This was Timber’s first experience with paint and she loved it. She’s two, she’s bouncy, and every new thing needs to be rolled in and explored. She turned herself very green and orange. Fortunately, she jumped into a splash tank as soon as she finished painting so she wasn’t too badly stained.

The coyotes, on the other paw, are currently a mess. Twister and Monty the staff photographer made a game out of it and Twister is now very purple.

Intern Khaz had ideas about how bison could nose paint, so we drove out in the field armed with touch sticks, sweet feed and food coloring. The bison provided us with a variety of nose prints of their own. Khaz informs us that nose prints in cattle are as distinctive as human fingerprints and are used by farmers as a way of identifying cows.

Not everyone wanted to paint (Fiona ate a painting instead of stepping on it) but everyone had the chance. It’s something novel and different which enriches their lives and ours. The paintings will be up for auction during Walk for Wolves. We might even try a few online if there is interest out on the internet.

Posted in Fun, Wolf Park Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fox Meets Frisbee


Scarlette on a kiddy car. Photo by Aoife Smeaton

Entertaining the park animals is important to their emotional well-being. Bored animals are stressed animals. We do our best to provide novel experiences for all our residents on a regular basis. This is especially true for the foxes who, if not given things to do, will find things to do.

How to entertain a fox? The grey foxes are big fans of scavenger hunts. We let our summer camp participants hide their daily food allowances all over the enclosure. Hunter is particularly good at hunting for eggs. Gypsum is particularly good at stealing eggs from her. They both enjoy hunting crickets in their sandbox.

The red foxes are fans of the trampoline. When we let them play with it, they’ll bounce and pounce on it for minutes at a time. That’s a long time for a fox! They also enjoy fresh-cut pine branches. They’ll sneak attack each other from within the branches, or hide beneath the rustling pile.


Scarlette on the trampoline. Photo by Scott Allaire

Our interns are always on the lookout for things foxes can explore. They’ve provided them with little tyke climbing toys, phone books, piñatas, egg crates, scents, plush toys and much more. We switch out objects in the enclosure regularly to keep things from becoming commonplace.

Joker has been very interested in throwing and chasing things lately so fox curator, Kimber, provided him with a Frisbee. Scarlette didn’t understand his fascination with the new toy, but that didn’t stop Joker from having a ball!

Posted in Fun, Other Canids | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wolf Park Featured in ABA’s “Best of the Best 2016” Travel Directory

PrintDestinations, the official magazine of the American Bus Association, picked 57 “super places to visit” all across America for their first “Best of the Best” awards in their September/October 2016 issue , and Wolf Park was selected as “the best place to have a howling good time”!

According to the issue, which is readable online here, “The ‘Best of the Best’ honors top destinations and events in the U.S. and Canada across a range of tour and travel categories.  Winners are selected…based on quantitative and qualitative evaluation of nominations.”

Wolf Park is excited to be named as a great place to visit!

Have you had a great time at Wolf Park?  Don’t forget to write up a review!  You can do so on Google, Tripadvisor, and!


Posted in Wolf Park Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presenting: Walk for Wolves 2016 T-Shirt!


Check out the design for this year’s Walk for Wolves t-shirt. Want one? Register your pack before September 19th to receive one. They’ll be for sale on the day of the walk as well. $2.00 of every shirt sold will go toward Tippecanoe County Cancer Association.

We’ve already received over $1,500 in individual donations and $5,000 in corporate donations. That’s great but we’ve still got a long way to go to reach our $15,000 goal! There is still plenty of time for packs to sign up and begin raising donations. The pack currently in the lead is the Grey Haven Pack. Sign up or donate today!

Some great organizations will be attending to educate and entertain. These include Animalia, Indiana Coyote Rescue and Imagination Station. We’re excited to see what they will do. We still have spaces available for other organizations to attend. We are also looking for local bands and performance artists who would like to perform. Do you know of anyone who would like the publicity? Let us know!

In wolf news…… Renki hippity hopped his way back to East Lake this past week. He seems very happy to be close to the other wolves. At the time of this writing, his operation site is almost completely covered in fur again, though it is only short fuzz so far. The rest of his coat is quite handsome. He has had two play dates with Ayla and with a completely thrilled Timber. He is very pleased to receive visitors and also scratches where it is hard for him to reach.


Posted in Wolves | Leave a comment

Timber’s Busy Social Calendar

renki tree

Renki has been outside full-time for several days now. He is living in a fenced off portion of the McAllister habitat, which is conveniently close to the Alison Franklin Animal Care Center in case we have to move him inside.  On August 22, he had his first walk around the loop trail since before his surgery. It took over an hour, and, when he staged a sit-in protest at East Lake, Timber was brought out on leash as an expediter/walking coach. This worked and Renki went back to his temporary lodgings, accompanied by her. On August 25, they had a play date in Renki’s temporary pen. Timber had a case of the zoomies and raced around inviting Renki to chase her. He looked quite excited. Timber literally ran circles around him and jumped over him repeatedly. She did straight arm him once, but when he made it clear he did not like that at all, she did not do it again. During the week of August 21 -28, Renki began guarding food from the staff. He’s baaaaaack!


Meanwhile, Timber has been a social butterfly. Along with meeting Renki, she also had a walk and play date with Wotan. He was a little overwhelmed at first but warmed up up to her once her initial excitement wore off.


Posted in Gift Shop, Wolf Park Updates, Wolves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ifa, 2013 – 2016

ifa profileOn May 6, 2013, an independent-minded grey fox named Ifa was born in Minnesota.  Ten days later, our lives changed forever as the ‘kit-moms’, Amanda, Bronwyn, and Zach brought Ifa, Gypsum, and Hunter to Wolf Park and into our lives as the park’s first socialized grey foxes.  Even on the ride home, Ifa made it abundantly clear that she was an independent vixen by continually attempting to climb out of the nest box her mothers’ had prepared for her. She almost succeeded!  From an early age, she kept her kit-moms busy with unpredictable behavior, and was usually the first to surprise them with the onset of the next stage of development earlier than expected. She chose an exclusive group of people to be her best friends. The circle expanded only once to include volunteer Jacob, although she tolerated and worked with most other people.

Even with her independent attitude, Ifa loved training with anyone who had a treat.  The sound of a bait bag opening would pull Ifa out of a slumber, onto a platform and ready to work; unless, of course, it was early. She wasn’t always a morning fox (and was often seen with ridiculous bed head if disturbed).  She was quick to pick up cues and was known most for her signature “wave” and “meerkat” pose.  If you were working with Gypsum or Hunter and looked down, you would typically find Ifa at your feet, offering up a behavior in hopes of a reward.all greys

Along with training, Ifa also enjoyed rambles around the park.  Exploring tall grass was always a favorite, and negotiating with the handler in an attempt to climb a tree or go under a deck was always attempted.  Walks were always on her terms, though—she wouldn’t always choose to go.  She would, however, dictate when she came back.  On one occasion, she refused to go home and instead walked twice around the loop trail, enjoying a leisurely spring day.

Oifa meercatn Wednesday, August 17, Ifa began acting not quite right.  Our vet, Dr. Becker, was coming out to examine several other animals, and we put her in the line-up.  After a brief exam, it was decided to keep her in the Alison Franklin Animal Care Center overnight and take her to the clinic the following morning in order to do a full work-up.  At the clinic, Ifa’s abdominal area didn’t look right. After consulting with another doctor, surgery was recommended.  It quickly became apparent that Ifa was suffering from a ruptured abscess that had enmeshed itself to the pancreas and other organs, and that there was nothing that could be done.  True to her independent personality, Ifa passed away on Thursday, August 18, 2016 after giving us only one day’s notice that anything at all was wrong.   Prior to this ordeal, she was working hard on a new cue—“reach for the stars”—We are all going to miss our little star dearly.

To honor Ifa, who left us on her own terms, but did so at such a young age, we are raising money for a mature tree to be planted in what will become part of a fox den expansion.  This tree will not only provide shade to the animals and humans who sit beneath it, but will also honor the magnificent arboreal grey foxes, who watch us from above.  If you are interested in donating to the tree fund, or fox den expansion, please visit and specify ‘Ifa Memorium’ under donations.

Posted in Other Canids, Wolf Park Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Renki Update

renki with zucchini

Renki carrying a zucchini. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey.

Since Renki’s surgery, his veterinarian, Dr. Becker, ordered him to restrict his activity while his surgery site finishes draining and the incision heals. Since he showed little inclination to follow her instructions, we had to do it for him. We tried taking him out for walks, but he always wanted to go farther and staged sit-ins to protest his restriction. If he was kept in too long, he became agitated and looked for any opportunity to get out of the recovery room.

Maintenance tech, Chris Lindir, lent us some panels to create a temporary outdoor area for Renki. His recovery room has a door opening directly into this little enclosure, and I hope many of you have looked at the video showing him indulging a passion for interior design. He obviously wants patio living.

Once we could leave the door to the outdoors open, allowing him to choose when he wanted to step outside, he was much calmer and did not try to figure out how to get out of the room. He just wanted some choice over his environment. He can take his food outside for an alfresco meal if he wants, or eat indoors. He still likes to move things in the room out to the patio. On 8/14, Dana made up the futon in the recovery room for herself and Renki. She stepped out for a minute and, when she came back, she found the neatly made futon had had its pillow removed. Renki had carried it outside and used it to bury, or “cache,” some organ meat he was saving for a snack later.

Seeing how much he enjoys having access to an outer area, we want to give him, and other future recovering wolves, the option of a secure permanent outdoor area that they can reach by just stepping out the back door. To donate, visit our Online Store.

Posted in Wolves | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Renki Update

Renki on a BedFor those who have not heard, Renki has been very ill. It started with a limp, and he had been diagnosed with arthritis (which is not unusual for a 12-year-old wolf). However, his limp got worse so x-rays were in order. The x-rays revealed that he had developed bone cancer and immediate surgery was called for. He is recovering well, but it will be a long road as he ended up losing his right foreleg.

IMG_3798Canids do well on three legs and he already can walk better on three legs than he was doing before the surgery. Renki has been recuperating in the Alison Franklin Animal Health Center, able to enjoy the air conditioning and a soft, high-traction floor to help him learn to be a “tripod”.  We are so happy to have our new building which makes veterinary care so much less stressful for everyone, especially the animals!

Renki did get to spend a little time outside, but got excited and popped some stitches so it is back to being an indoor wolf for now.  He enjoys round the clock care from staff and volunteers who keep him entertained, and we are hoping he can get back to being an outdoor wolf soon (under strict supervision of course).

If you would like to help support Renki (we may need to build him a special outdoor enclosure and he has mounting medical expenses), please click here!

You can also mail a donation to Wolf Park, 4004 E 800 N, Battle Ground, IN 47920, call us at 765-567-2265 or PayPal All donations are tax deductible for folks in the U.S.

Posted in Wolf Park Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment