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 shop.wolfpark.org 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 wolfpark@wolfpark.org. All donations are tax deductible for folks in the U.S.

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

Brew on the Bridge Saturday, July 30!


Wolf Park’s Brew on the Bridge presents The Miller Experience featuring the amazing L D Miller, Lafayette’s smokin’ harmonica player, considered a child prodigy in 2006 at the age of 12, when he won second place on America’s Got Talent.

He has opened for or shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Buddy Guy, Jon Popper (Blues Traveler), BB King, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Bonamassa, Alicia Keys, India Arie, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Ziggy Marley, Joss Stone, James Cotton, and the Rickey Minor band.

Be there on Saturday July 30, from 7 to 10pm. People’s Brewery will serve their tasty brews and South Street Smokehouse will offer their tangy pulled pork sandwiches.

Click here to buy now!

Alcohol will be provided by People’s Brewery. Alcohol is $5 per pint and you must show I.D. to be served.

PeoplesBrewingCoCirclelogo3Don’t drink? No problem! Come out, enjoy some BBQ and listen to some great music under the stars.  Other drinks available for only $1!  The band will perform starting at 7:30 pm. Will the wolves ‘sing’ along? You have to be here to find out! Advance tickets are on sale for only $10. Get yours today at our online gift shop!!

south street smokehouse logoPulled Beef provided by South Street Smokehouse, served with buns & chips for only $5.

Bring along your own chairs or blankets to enjoy the musical performance.  No pets please.

Advance Tickets Online Only $10
Tickets at the door $12
All Ticket Sales Final (No Refunds)
No Rain Date

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

Scenes from 2016 Watermelon Party

To celebrate Independence Day, Wolf Park throws a Watermelon Party – all of our animals get special treats inside a watermelon. This event displays the individual nature of our wolves, coyotes, foxes, and even the bison. Some roll the melon over, some tear the melon to pieces. Dr. Klinghammer called this behavior “an appetance for tearing” similar to chewing into a carcass – a self-rewarding task for a predator.

Thanks to everyone who made the party fun and interesting- our visitors and sponsors, the Day Camp kids, our wonderful Volunteers and Staff, PayLess Grocery Stores for the watermelons, and Gibson’s Shaved Ice for tasty treats.

Enjoy some scenes from this year’s event, courtesy of our YouTube channel, Wolf Park Week!

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

Join us for Wolfstock! on Saturday, May 21 @ The Clubhouse!

wolfstockposterJoin us for Wolfstock @ The Clubhouse
(827 N 6th St, Lafayette, IN 47904)

Saturday, May 21 @ 5:00pm

Come on out to Wolfstock! Hosted by the Clubhouse and put together by our wonderful sponsor, Sarah Smart-McGraw, Wolfstock will be a night of entertainment and fun.

Performing groups include 50 Six Feet (Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BB3VHjlL6I), The Saturday Funk Band, Black Heart Romance and DJ Nightshift. We’ll be raffling off all sorts of items donated by local businesses and auctioning off autographed Cubs gear.

Donations from the event will help Wolf Park build their new puppy nursery. Come join us!

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

Eat at Nine Irish Brothers and Support Wolf Park!

2016 - puppy shower charity event flyer - smallHelp us throw a “puppy shower” for our (hopefully) incoming litter of puppies by participating in our Puppy Shower Charity Event on Monday, May 2!

Visit Nine Irish Brothers in Lafayette or West Lafayette anytime between 5:00-10:00 pm on May 2 and 100% of the net profits from your order will go directly to Wolf Park to support improvements to our puppy-raising facilities!

You can visit either location:

3520 St Rd 38 E
Lafayette, IN 47905

119 Howard Ave
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Please call the Wolf Park office at (765) 567-2265 for more information.

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

Unusual Animal Sighted at Wolf Park

Wolf Park is situated under one of the narrow ends of the bell-shaped curve.  In such a location we expect the unexpected.  So when I got an urgent call from the intern doing meatballs on April 1, saying that there was a strange animal loose inside our perimeter fence, I wasn’t exactly surprised.  Luckily I was already driving to the Park, and spent the drive wishing for those thrilling days of yesteryear when a neighbor’s pit bull occasionally paid us a visit, running the fence and frothing the wolves.  (Luckily she was a friendly pit bull.  The female wolves hated her on sight but a few of the males thought she was intriguingly cute in a weird way.)

When I arrived at the Park, the mystery animal was out in the bison pasture, excitedly trying to make friends with the bison.  It was probably not a dog or a coyote.  All our wolves, yotes, and foxes were present and accounted for.  The critter didn’t look like a big cat, or a raccoon either.  I did notice that it had a thick tail that tapered noticeably from base to tip.  Its topline also had a somewhat serrated, or possibly spiked, look.  I called Animal Control, but found that not only will they no longer come and collect injured or diseased raccoons, but neither will they come out and remove crypto-critters.  Apparently it’s some sort of insurance thing.  They suggested I call Wild Cat Creek Wildlife Rescue.

Meanwhile, several angry bison cows were chasing our mystery animal, which was busily running away.  It traveled in a mostly quadruped fashion, but rather like a raccoon, and again like a raccoon it appeared to have very dexterous paws, at least in front.  With the bison in hot pursuit it swarmed over the pasture fence, appearing to grasp the wire with its front paws, and in a dramatic display of bad life choice, it vaulted up and over the Turtle Lake Enclosure fence in a very raccoon-like way.   Inside the enclosure at the time were the Threebies – Bicho, Kanti and Fiona – who saw the invader and immediately gave chase.  I excitedly attempted videotaping this with my phone.  The video is not very useful for identifying the animal in question, though the fact that something was among us was plain to see.

With a quick doubling back maneuver, the strange beast caused Bicho and Kanti to crash into each other, but as they went down in a welter of flailing paws, Fiona kept up the chase.  The animal ran toward the pond and straight into the pond where for two bounds it appeared, like Wile E. Coyote, to be able to run over the surface of the water, but then it sank and thrashed back up to the surface.  It looked as though it used its tail to help propel itself through the water. Fiona leaped into the pond after it and moments later, Kanti and Bicho swam after it too.  Our wolves are all used to swimming.  They all gave aquatic pursuit to the astonishment of a small flock of Canada geese who were swimming on the pond.  The creature submerged about 20 feet away from the birds and seconds later two of the geese began to honk and beat their wings.  The entire flock took flight at that point, and the crypto-beast, firmly gripping the feet of two of the geese, one set of legs in each front paw, rose out of the water with them.  The flock left, still calling noisily, with the strange animal holding onto two of the geese.  We were left with angry bison cows, wet Threebies, and all the wolves at East Lake running up and down their respective fences. The coyotes were speechless, for once, and at the time of this writing are still so wide eyed that their eyes look as big as saucers.  The foxes all have big eyes too, but their eyes are only the size of coasters that you put under drinking glasses.   Scarlette shrieked EEEEEEEE EEEEEEEE EEEEEEE until the geese were out of sight.

The question of the crypto beast’s identification remains.  Unfortunately (or maybe it is fortunate) we have no remains to identify.  It was about the size of a large coyote, and looked leggier than a raccoon or otter.  If it had a pelt it was very short and fine – rather like bison coats (on the back half of the bison) in summer.  It ran on all fours but could climb at least as well as a raccoon and its method of using geese to escape showed that it has impressive gripping ability in its front paws.  The tail also did not look like either a canid or a felid tail. Along its dorsal surface it had what appeared to be small serrations, but not really spiny and it was uniformly dark in color.  Qualified cryptozoologists who may be able to tell us what this was are requested to contact Wolf Park.

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

Celebrate Easter at Wolf Park on Sunday, March 20!

EasterJoin Wolf Park and the Easter Bunny for our annual Easter celebration and egg hunt on Sunday, March 20 from 1:00-5:00 pm!

The afternoon will feature treats for the animals, including animal-safe Easter treats like Peeps and hard boiled eggs.  At approximately 1:45 the Easter Bunny will begin hiding eggs in the (temporarily vacant) main pack enclosure.  Once the Bunny is finished and safely out of the enclosure at 2:00 pm, the wolves will be released into the enclosure to hunt for their treats!

Afterwards, enjoy egg hunts for all ages of humans, games, crafts, and egg and treat distribution for the gray and red foxes, coyotes, and wolves at East Lake, as well as guided tours.

Egg hunts for children will be held between 3:00-4:00 pm.

Guided tours of the Park will be offered at 1:15, 2:15 3:15, and 4:15.

Wolf Park closes at 5:00 pm.

Adults regular price
Children 13 and under FREE

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

Join us for our Open House Saturday, March 5!

Bicho & Kanti Squishing Their Heads TogetherJoin us for the Wolf Park Open House Saturday, March 5, 2016, 1—4 p.m!

Wolf Park invites individuals, families, and organizations to make tracks to Battle Ground to see what we are all about!   Many people know that we have wolf Howl Nights — but they may not be aware that we have kids camps, volunteer opportunities, photography shoots, internships and in-depth seminars on wolf behavior that are perfect for dog and wolf lovers.

On Saturday March 5th we will be open from 1-4 p.m. and offer $1 admission (normally $8!) to all visitors, so that everyone can come out and learn about how Wolf Park furthers its mission of research, education and conservation.

For more information call us weekdays at 765-567-2265.

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