I Am Your Father

Timber is a lady who loves her boys. She’s courted every male wolf in the park and would be happy to be special friends with any and all of them. When breeding season concluded, and Timber’s pregnancy was confirmed, there were two possible fathers of the pups. Brothers Wotan and Wolfgang had both bred with her during a fertile period. The resulting pups bore all the family traits and gave no clue who the daddy might be.

The potential daddies

There were many clamors to know who was the father, and some speculation that the pups might have two different fathers. Mixed litters have been documented in dogs, but not in wolves. We hoped we might prove this to be a possibility.

DNA tests revealed all the Twiglets have the same father and that father is…. *drumroll*…. WOTAN!

Proud parents

Wotan has certainly put in the effort as devoted mate. He helped Timber dig the den and brought her food during her pregnancy. He and she enjoy playdates at regular intervals. Being an aging twelve-year-old, he isn’t interested in her full-time companionship, and he’s shown no desire to meet his sons and daughter without a barrier between.

The puppy pack. Photo by Monty Sloan

Congratulations to Wotan and Timber on their lovely, growing litter.

Upcoming Events
8/17 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
8/26 – Puppy Exploration Party
8/26 – Wolf Park After Dark

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Renki’s Milestone

Today we celebrated a very important anniversary. A year ago today Renki’s underwent surgery to halt the spread of his cancer. This involved the amputation of his forelimb. It was not something we’d ever tried before, but we trusted Renki’s positive attitude would be a boon to his recovery. This proved true. He was walking on three legs before the anesthesia had even worn off, and adapted rapidly to his new gait.

At the time, we weren’t sure how much time we’d bought him, if any. There were many murmurs about ‘Renki’s last Christmas’ and such as holidays came and went. We rejoiced with every milestone he passed and wondered how many more he would see.

Today we can say proudly that Renki is a survivor. As near as we can tell, he is cancer free. It is a joy to see him still enjoying walks, food, playing with his sister, and loving the human attention. We don’t know how long we have with him, but we’ll consider every day with him a blessing.

To celebrate the day, Renki received a gathering of friends who brought him eggs and gelatos. Two favorite foods for a wolf whose favorite food is ‘food’. He and Ayla enjoyed the party, although Ayla preferred eggs to gelato.

Renki, Ayla and friends celebrate a milestone. Photo by Monty Sloan

Meanwhile, one of the interns took this really cute photo of Khewa.

Really cute Khewa. Photo by Natalie Risser

Upcoming Events
7/27 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
7/29 – Wolf Park After Dark
8/17 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
8/26 – Puppy Exploration Party
8/26 – Wolf Park After Dark

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Paddle Pups

Babies’ first carcass. Photo by Sara Preston

The puppies had their first whole deer carcass last week. In true wolf fashion, they tore right into it and got thoroughly bloody. Everyone shared, which is nice to see. There was rumbling, but this litter of puppies is surprisingly good at eating civilly off the same carcass pieces. Out to make the process as macabre as possible, they ate the face off first.

On Friday they had their second run in the main enclosure. After running around the dam and exploring the whole enclosure, the Twiglets jumped into the lake and swam in circles. Sparrow tried to start a wrestling match while swimming and dunked Máni. The Mountaineers were wary about swimming. Niko fell in the lake while trying to balance on a log. Khewa had the better balance and stayed dry but still turned into a swamp wolf.

Máni just after Sparrow dunked him. Photo by Scott Allaire

The Old Golds. Photo by Jennifer Yeandle

Saturday was Brew on the Bridge, an annual event in which a local band comes out to serenade visitors. The Old Golds. People’s Brewing Company and South Street Smokehouse all made for an excellent evening, even if the threat of rain did make in an indoor event. The crowd loved them and we hope The Old Golds will play with us next year!

A great crowd enjoys music, BBQ and beer. Photo by Jennifer Yeandle

The interns continue to build. Now they’ve fashioned a hammock for the foxes. Firehoses are the gift which keeps on giving. If anyone knows of a supply, we would love to receive more. The animals appreciate beds with a ‘give’ to them.

Swing time. Photo by Scott Allaire

Khewa the swamp puppy. Photo by Scott Allaire

Upcoming Events
7/27 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
7/29 – Wolf Park After Dark
8/17 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
8/26 – Puppy Exploration Party
8/26 – Wolf Park After Dark

EDIT: Last week we announced a brand new seminar. The date has since changed. Check out ‘Mmmm…. Enrichment!’ a seminar about keeping animals in zoos, sanctuaries, humane societies and homes entertained and mentally engaged. The park will be hosting it October 27 – 29 and we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Lindsay Mehrkam and all her knowledge.

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100 Days

Máni in the main enclosure. Photo by Monty Sloan

The Twiglets turned 100 days old yesterday! Everyone is growing and thriving. They had their first visit to the big Turtle Lake Enclosure, and it went great. Training continues. Everyone is walking well on leashes. Aspen climbed into the golf cart on one of his walks. They have regular visits with Fiona and Timber. This week they’re getting ready for Brew on the Bridge by enjoying lots of music at night so they won’t be concerned during the big event.

Timber, Aspen and Máni. Photo by Monty Sloan

New Enrichment by the 2017 Interns. Photo by Sara Preston

Thanks to our intrepid interns, their enclosure has received some new furniture. The interns built two new huts, a bridge, and two platforms. The bridge and platforms have firehose tops, which makes them very comfortable. The whole thing won’t be assembled until the pups are larger because we don’t want them falling off the bridge, but for now they’re enjoying the platforms, and the adult wolves appreciate somewhere tall they can go to get away from crazy puppies.

Exploring the new platform. Photo by Lisa Maney

Thanks to our amazing sponsors Sarah McGraw, and Tim & Stacey Folyer! They put on the second annual ‘Wolfstock’ to support Wolf Park and spread the word about us. We’re so grateful for the bands and businesses who donated their time and resources. Both humans and animals at Wolf Park appreciate the support we receive from wonderful people in our community!

We have two new additions to Wolf Park, at least temporarily. The Park is currently home to a small colony of guinea pigs. The pigs were here to help our kids camp participants learn about safe animal handling and training. The pigs came from hoarder situations and other bad homes, so we were glad to have the opportunity to teach them that humans can be nice. One of the girls gave birth yesterday to two healthy babies. We hope to return very social young pigs to the rescue once they’re old enough to be adopted.

Upcoming Events
July 22 – Brew on the Bridge
July 27 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
July 29 – Wolf Park After Dark

NEW SEMINAR!
Mmmm… Enrichment!
August 18 – 20
Dr. Lindsay Mehrkam will be spending three days talking enrichment in animal facilities. Participants will have a chance to design species-specific enrichment, discuss ideas, and learn how facilities around the country are keeping their animals engaged. Whether your interest is zoos, shelters, parks or your own home, this is information worth learning!

Khewa in the pool

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They Keep on Growing

Raising puppies has kept us busy, busy, busy! Between training, introducing them to the world, and the general raising of five little ones, we haven’t had much time for anything else.

Fiona flees from frolicking. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey

The two litters have been combined into one litter at long last. At first one big puppy would spend some time with the little ones and that worked pretty well. We decided bringing Fiona in to act as mediating adult would help if the Mountaineers were nervous or the Twiglets were too rowdy. With her assistance, both litters had longer and longer playdates together until they were one (relatively) happy family. They still often divide into their sibling groups for activities but they all do enjoy being together.

The BEST stick. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey

The Twiglets are getting their adult coats and markings. Aspen has the darkest markings and will probably be a very striking wolf when he’s old. Máni has the lightest markings. Aspen is a large and easy-going wolf. He often starts chase games by plopping a piece of meat down in the middle of a group of puppies. Máni is a little more concerned about the world than the others. He likes to sleep in a hut while everyone else prefers the trees. Sparrow is an explorer. She’s very calm when brought to a new enclosure and very interested in discovering the world.

Máni and Khewa. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers are still in their fuzzy puppy coats. Niko continues to grow lighter patches in his fur. He may not be an entirely black wolf when he’s grown. Khewa remains solid grey. Her markings are yet to appear. Khewa is mild-mannered compared to her rowdy companions. If things get wild, she’ll go off by herself, or play quietly with Niko. She’s very observant and quick to take food away from distracted siblings. Niko is quick to react angrily toward the Twiglets if they push him around. He still loves playing with toys more than anything else.

Renki contemplates watermelon

The annual Watermelon Party occurred on Saturday, giving visitors a chance to see the wolves tear apart watermelons in search of treats. This year’s melons included some ice cream inside, which was greatly appreciated on a hot day. All the animals really enjoyed their treats and the pups made it through their first big park event in fine style. Gibson Shaved Ice came by to make snow cones. They also gave some of the wolves ‘snow’ to play with. Aspen and Sparrow were the most interested in it.

Introducing Khaz! Photo by Scott Allaire

 

We’d like to welcome a new member to our staff. Khaz  Brooks was an intern last fall and we liked her so much we decided to keep her. Khaz comes to us from Georgia where she has worked as a professional dog trainer. She’s our new Education Coordinator. She’s working on seminars, camps, volunteer opportunities and outreach. We expect great things!

 

 

 

Upcoming Events
There’s some great stuff coming up!
Our lecture series on Climate Change continues this week on Thursday, July 6th. A great learning experience and free to all!

Some of our sponsors are putting on a fundraiser at Lafayettte’s Hideaway. Join them for the second annual Wolf Stock on July 15th

Like beer, music and wolves? Come on out for Brew On the Bridge July 22. Featuring music by The Old Golds, Lafayette’s country band.

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Party Time!

Saturday brought with it the long-anticipated Puppy Debut Party in which the five pups were given a delightful amount of new and novel items to spark their interest to the enjoyment of the crowd. Of course, an afternoon in June has its disadvantages. Khewa and Niko poked their heads out of the shade, declared the weather to be disgusting, and went back to sleep. Máni took some time to come out and view of the crowd of almost four hundred. Aspen and Sparrow were left to carry the day, which they did with great relish.

They dismembered a hay bale, hunted for apples in the wading pool, played with toys, and finished off their afternoon with their first deer legs. Once they had full bellies, they were prepared to nap the rest of the day away. Fortunately for late visitors, Niko and Khewa finally put in an appearance near the end of the afternoon.

Trainers Ken McCort and Chirag Patel assist the campers with their visit. Photo by Monty Sloan

 

Sunday brought visits with Fiona for both litters. Later, the Twiglets met the children’s camp participants. They kids were great, and the puppies were interested in meeting these smaller humans. We offer Overnight and Day Camps all this month. Older kids might have the opportunity to meet the puppies!

Trainers Chirag Patel and Ken McCort are here this week to work with the puppies. They’ll be working out a training plan to work on minor behavior problems before they become major behavior problems. These will include helping Khewa feel less concerned with people entering the enclosure, and helping everyone adjust to new places and situations.

Niko and Khewa cuddle with Fiona. Photo by Dana Drenzek

We continue to desensitize the pups to all the strange things they’ll encounter in life. This week gave them opportunities to examine a wheel chair and walker. We have guests of all types and we want our wolves to be confident around all of them. They also saw a dog. Sparrow thought it was a new friend and begged the dog to visit them. Máni was worried. Niko and Khewa were unimpressed.

Today the Mountaineers are receiving their vaccinations, after which all the puppies will be available for sponsor visits. We’ve already had a few Sponsor Visits and Photo Shoots with the Twiglets. The puppies have enjoyed the chances to meet new humans and we’re glad to expand their social circles.

 

Upcoming Events
June 24 – Wolf Park After Dark
July 1 – Watermelon Party
July 6 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivores
July 29 – Wolf Park After Dark

Check out Sponsor Opportunities, Photo Shoots, Seminars and Children’s Camps on our Online Store.

Fiona and the Mountaineers. Photo by Dana Drenzek

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Bunnies are a Pup’s Best Friend

Whose bunny is it anyway? Photo by Caity Judd

The Twiglets are spending more and more time outside. They spent all of Friday in big enclosure closest to the puppy nursery. They were a little unnerved until their puppy parents made them a blanket fort. Using that as ‘home base’, they gradually explored the rest of the enclosure.

On Saturday they were brought to an enclosure on the other side of the park for the first time. They could see the coyotes on one side and Wotan and Wolfgang on the other. They enjoyed the new view and chose a favorite platform to sleep both on and under until it was time to return to the nursery. Back in the nursery, they dragged a dead rabbit onto the bed and all three had a civil meal together.

Bone Tussle. Photo by Karen Davis

They love rabbits. Their skill at tearing into the carcasses improve every day. We sometimes quarter the rabbits so they can each have a piece, but they can also tear open a whole rabbit with growing skill. They are almost completely weaned. Along with rabbit, they’ve started eating deer and chicken.

They had their first sponsor visit and photo shoots will begin tomorrow. The public is so excited to see them!

The Mountaineers have met Sparrow on neutral ground and Sparrow is delighted to have little siblings. She handicaps herself when she wrestles with them, but is quick to squash any ideas Khewa might have about which female is queen of the puppy nursery.

Niko the photo bomber. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey

Khewa has been more reactive to sounds than the other pups so the Mountaineers are listening to a lot of music and nature sounds. It is helping them adjust to noises. At the time of writing, they are listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. They will be well-prepared for encounters with hobbits and orcs should this come up later in life.

Niko and Khewa enjoy a deer leg. Photo by Bronwyn Chidzey

Cypress and Tauriel. Photo by Caity Judd

Staff Member Caity stopped in at Wolf Mountain Nature Center to see how Cypress and Tauriel (formerly Anya) are developing. The puppies are happy, healthy, and growing fast. They’ll be moving outside soon and will be delighted to have more space. Wolf Mountain will be keeping us up-to-date on their development and we’re so grateful to stay in touch.

 

Upcoming Events
May 29 – Memorial Day – Open 1-5pm for tours
June 3 – Puppy Party!
June 24 – Wolf Park After Dark

Want to Meet the Puppies?
There are still a few slots left in the Puppy Photo Shoots. You can also Sponsor a Puppy and set up a time to meet them. We also have a One Day Seminar and a Three Day Seminar coming soon, which will include visits with the pups. Space is limited. Sign up today!

Máni. Photo by Karen Davis

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There is life outside…

Kelly and Cypress say goodbye. Photo by Scott Allaire

On Sunday we said our goodbyes to two of our pups. Cypress and Anya (now Tauriel) headed off to their new home at Wolf Mountain Nature Center. We’re sad to see them go but we are confident they’ll find good homes in New York.

The now smaller litter of Twiglets are working on being comfortable outside. Although they like playing in the yard, they prefer to go back indoors to sleep. Since they’ll be outdoor wolves when they’re grown, the puppy parents have moved outside with them. All their bedding and favorite toys are in the yard, which is motivating the puppies to spend much more time in the great outdoors.

The pups continue to meet adult wolves Fiona has met both litters although the Mountaineers only met her through the fence since they are still quite small. Timber spent a little time with her puppies but she doesn’t quite seem sure what to make of them.

First time in the big enclosure! Photo by Scott Allaire

The Twiglets’ world continues to expand. They’ve taken their first walks with real leashes and visited their first big wolf enclosure. They liked the extra space for running. They are curious about strangers. They approach the fence when tours go by – when they wake up in the afternoon. They had their first carcass today. It was a rabbit.

Puppies with deer leg. Photo by Scott Allaire

The Mountaineers are starting to hear and respond to sounds. They’re starting to go outside. So far Khewa thinks the outdoors is a little scary, but she likes exploring new places indoors. Niko is very interested in checking out new things.

Stretch! Photo by Scott Allaire

The two litters have met! The puppy parents carry the younger pups into the big pups’ nursery for rounds of mutual sniffing. The big pups are too rambunctious and want to play roughly with the little ones so they haven’t been allowed to wrestle yet. Khewa is finding it easier to explore the outside world when in with the big pups. They run off into the grass she she gallops after, with a concerned puppy parent chasing her for fear the Twiglets will flatten her.

Upcoming Events
May 25 – Tipping Point: Talking Climate Change and Carnivorous
May 27 – Wolf Park After Dark
June 3 – Puppy Party

Want to spend time with the puppies and the other animals? We have a One Day Seminar coming soon, and a Three Day Seminar not long after.

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Puppies vs. Fiona

The Twiglets are having an abundance of new experiences. The biggest is meeting their first adult wolf. Fiona had the pleasure of visiting the pups in the outdoor nursery. At the sight of them, Fiona turned into ‘a big puddle of happy wolf’. (That’s a direct quote.) She rolled over for them and the pups swarmed all over her. Anya tried to dominate her, which Fiona found amusing. She’s met the puppies twice now and is loving it.

The pups are outside a lot more now. They’ve wandered outside during tours a couple times to the delight of the visitors. Máni walked up to the fence and stared at a group of thirty children without looking at all concerned.

Anya with an antler. Photo by Scott Allaire

The indoor enclosure requires frequent changes of bedding since five puppies can be messy! One evening, the puppy parents stripped the room of all the blankets and pillows except a blanket inside the crate and a couple t-shirts which had been tossed into the corner. When they returned from starting the laundry, two of the pups had dragged the remaining cloth items into the middle of the room and made a pile of them. It’s all about redecorating!

Khewa and Niko. Photo by Scott Allaire

In the other nursery, the mountaineers continue to grow. Their eyes are open and they’re walking very well. They’re starting to visit the outdoors but they’re not sure about the wide world yet. Most importantly for their development, they finally have names! The male is now ‘Niko’ in honor of Nikolaas Tinbergen, a Dutch ornithologist and Nobel Prize recipient. The female is ‘Khewa’, a Lakota word meaning ‘Turtle’. The first wolf at Wolf Mountain Nature Center was named ‘Dancing Turtle’ and they requested this name to honor the memory.

The new calves. Photo by Monty Sloan

In the bison field, calf #3 has been born. That might be it for calves this year. The volunteers have named the new calf ‘Stix’ bringing the new bison babies up to the silly assortment of Satchel, Spaghetti and Stix.

The puppy photo seminars are filling up fast so reserve your spot today.

Do you want to know more about climate change? We have a series of talks going on this summer to discuss the issue.

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Fiestas and Frolics

Renki assaults a piñata. Photo by Monty Sloan

On Saturday we celebrated the birthdays of all the animals at Wolf Park in one celebration. Past parties have been celebrated with a variety of cakes and presents. This year we decided to try something different and made all the animals piñatas! This was enriching for the animals who had to figure out how to retrieve their treats from the trees. Some were swift about it – Bicho had his out of the tree before Kanti realized there were treats to be had. Others had more trouble – Renki couldn’t quite leap for his piñata, so he tore out the bottom and let the treats rain down. Twister had the best time. Willow wasn’t interested in the piñatas so he managed two!

Wolfgang is determined! Photo by Monty Sloan 

Special thanks to Payless Grocery for donating a cake for human consumption.

Cypress and DJ. Photo by Scott Allaire

Intrepid Máni explorer. Photo by Scott Allaire

The weather is finally improving and the Twiglets are outside more often. They’re getting to enjoy the outside world. Anya will paw at the door to ask to be let into the yard. Cypress was the first to pass through the cement airlock and into the grassy enclosure. Aspen followed him and didn’t know what to do when he found himself on strange turf. Cypress had no concerns. Now all five pups have decided the great outdoors is great and are happy to play outside whenever the rain and wind lets up long enough for them to make it out the door.

Keeping growing puppies engaged indoors has involved a lot of new novelty devices in the nursery. The pups now have a wading pool filled with branches, a ramp and slide, and lots of toys. Here’s Cypress playing with their favorite – an angry bird.

In the other nursery, the mountain pups have their eyes open. They’re growing steadily and changing every day.

Bronwyn nursing the male mountain pup.

We’ll have big updates on the puppies and their adventures tomorrow so stay tuned!

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