Wolf Park Turns Forty Five!

Dr. Erich Klinghammer and wolves, 1982

Dr. Erich Klinghammer and wolves, 1982

Wolf Park has reached an incredible milestone! Forty five years ago, a Purdue professor was inspired to expand his knowledge of a little-understood species by bringing two wolves into his life. From there, the pack and facility has grown from its small beginnings into an organization dedicated to improving the lives of wolves in captivity and in the wild through research and education.

Dr. Erich Klinghammer began with a desire to understand wolf behavior and communication. He was able to observe his wolves throughout multiple generations of forming packs, breeding, raising offspring and hunting. Gradually the park has expanded to include other species such as bison, coyotes and foxes.

Research was the original focus of Wolf Park and we continue to assist researchers from around the globe with their studies but our focus has turned more toward education. We are proud of the work we do in providing seminars, children’s camps and education programs for public and private groups.

45th logoWe are celebrating our incredible milestone with a four-day event April 20-23. Join us Saturday April 22nd for the main event as we celebrate 45 years of Wolf Park with a slew of activities. This will also be the date of our annual fundraiser. That’s right, we’re moving Walk for Wolves to the spring this year and changing up the format! Join one of five teams and compete with other teams to earn money for a variety of projects around the park. Which team will raise the most donations? Join us and find out!

Schedule of Events

Thursday – Open 1-4pm for tours and talk.
Friday – Open 1-4pm for tours and talk and open 6-9pm for a special Cookout Howl Night
Saturday – The big fundraiser day! Compete with other teams, see the park, bid in a live auction and listen to amazing speakers from around the country. Then join us Saturday evening for a formal dinner at the Lafayette Fowler House.
Sunday – A day of fun at Wolf Park with competitions, special guest speakers and more!

To learn more visit our main webpage or sign up for the weekend through our online store.

We hope to see every one of you there!


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Seasons Greetings From Wolf Park

Renki with his Christmas Present

Photo by Danielle Lassonde

Ice storms derailed the park’s annual holiday party, leaving the animals without their presents. Santa had to turn his sleigh around, but fortunately the interns were there to play the part of elves! On Christmas Eve, interns Khaz and Danielle converted the animals’ presents into complicated puzzle boxes and gave the canids the gift of entertainment.

The animals are used to getting cardboard boxes with odds and ends hidden inside. They all have their methods of figuring out how to dismember the box and retrieve the treats. Bicho and Kanti destroyed theirs and consumed the contents so fast they probably didn’t taste them. Timber, meanwhile, tugged apart her box very slowly and ended up caching (burying) the box – treats and all. Wotan and Wolfgang were frightened by the wrapping paper and circled their boxes for a long time before Wotan finally plucked up the courage to claim the goodies.

Timber with Burger

Photo by Monty Sloan

On Christmas Day, the wolves received a second treat. Wolf handlers, Pat and Monty, bought burgers for everyone. Hamburgers are not part of the wolves’ normal diet, but it’s the holidays so everyone gets to cheat a little. Fiona was the extra lucky wolf that day. The staff had accidentally ordered an extra burger. The main pack was last to be fed. Fiona managed to seize the bag with the extra hamburger and ran off for a feast while Bicho and Kanti scarfed down their burgers – wrappers and all.

Thanks to some unseasonably warm weather, the park roads have thawed and it is safe to walk and drive here again. Although we won’t be open until after the New Year, we are happy we can safely welcome visitors again, and walk the wolves without falling over.

Gypsum with present

Photo by Khaz Brooks

Upcoming Events
December 31 – Closed for New Years Eve
January 14 – Winter Wolves, 1-4pm
February 11 – Winter Wolves II – 1-4pm

New in our Online Store
The winter season is upon us and we have outer layers to keep you warm. Our sweatshirts feature paw prints on the front and a picture of Fiona on the back. Shirts come in sweatshirt, hoodie and zippered-hoodie variety.fisweatshirt2

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2017 Seminars


2017 is fast approach and Wolf Park is gearing up for another year of special events, seminars, camps and more. We’re offering some new seminars this year and we hope many of you will join us for learning and fun with the wolves, foxes, bison and coyotes. What’s upcoming? Well….


March 10 – 12: “From Control to Compassion: What Wild Canids Can Teach Us About Forming Deeper Bonds with Our Dogs” with Beth Duman
We begin our year with a return visit from longtime friend of the park and trainer, Beth Duman. Duman always arrives with special teachers – both human and animal – to assist with her seminars. Duman seminar always include a great deal of hands on time with the dogs, chances to meet and greet the wolves, and a great deal of group learning. This year, her workshop will ask, “Is your relationship with your dog about ‘training’ or ‘teaching’?” She’ll explore how you relate to your dogs and clients, and help re-evaluate your relationships.

14329902_570403566472717_1312678113561564923_nMarch 31 – April 2: “Fantastic Beasts and How to Train Them” with Ken McCort
World renowned trainer, Ken McCort will be conducting a series of four seminars this year. His newest is a great starting place for those wanting to work with exotic animals. Participants will work hands-on with guinea pigs and via protected contact with some of the park’s other resident species. There will be time to get to know the wolves first-hand, and engage in discussions regarding reading cues between species and different training techniques required for different creatures.

June 23 and September 1: “An Ethological Day with Wolves and Foxes”
Spend a day at Wolf Park getting to know the wolves, foxes and bison! Participants will meet the animals and learn more about their behavior and language. Enjoy up close and personal learning with canids of various sorts!

July 14 -16: “Preparing Wolf Ambassadors” and September 29 – Oct. 1: “The Canid Quartet” with the Wolf Park Staffdx721111-monty-sloan-wolf-park
For those wanting to get to know the wolves and learn more about wild canids, these are the seminars for you. Led by the Wolf Park staff, these seminars will give participants a chance to interact with the animals, learn more about their behavior, and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to look after these animals. “Preparing Wolf Ambassadors” will give participants opportunity to learn about the care and enrichment necessary to keep wolves in captivity. Participants will prepare enrichment devices, engage in observational research, and learn about daily care. “The Canid Quartet” will offer opportunities to learn more about wolves, coyotes, foxes and dogs. These canines share a world with us. Understanding them will help us better understand our planet.

July 28 – 30: “Canine Neurology and Behavior” with Ken McCort
McCort’s annual seminar will emphasis new research on neuro-biology and how it affects training. Other possible topics may include learning theory, drives and breed differences in behavior. McCort’s seminars are excellent for dog trainers both just starting out, or well advanced in their careers.

October 14 -16: “Talk to the Paw and Creative Client Coaching” with Nicole Wilde and the Wolf Park Staff
Nicole Wilde returns for her second year with us! Join us for one, two or three days of timely topics. Day One will cover subtle body language in dogs and how our gestures translate back to them. Day Two is for trainers interested in becoming better coaches for their clients. Wilde will discuss techniques for communicating clearly and creative problem solving. Day Three will give participants a chance to interact with the wolves and foxes, and learn about training non-domesticated animals.


Our annual round of Day Camps and Overnight Camps for children ages 6 – 14 are already filling up! Campers will learn about working with wild animals, the natural world around them and have a wonderful time in the process! They’ll assist with animal care, meet some of our resident species, and make lasting friends. Many of our campers keep coming back every year and we’re thrilled to see their familiar faces. Join us this June and July!


PHOTO SHOOTS AND SEMINARSdx720931-monty-sloan-wolf-park
For the amateur and professional photographer alike, photo shoots and seminars give participants a chance to step into the wolves’ habitat and photograph up close and personal. Photo Seminars offer over ninety minutes of sessions outdoors with the animals along with talks about the best ways to photograph wildlife. Photo Shoots skip the talks and go straight to animal time. Our wolves are happy to pose and our staff will help you get the best possible shot. Sessions with the foxes are also available upon request of the group.

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The Start of Two Beautiful Friendships


Timber Loves Every Boy
On Monday, Renki and Timber had a play date together which ended rapidly once Timber had exhausted and irritated Renki to the end of his tolerance. Meanwhile, Bicho was making hopeful eyes at Timber through the fence so the staff decided to see if he’d like to take a walk with her. After a brief walk, it was clear the two just wanted to play, so the staff turned them loose to have a great time. They played for quite a while. Timber was delighted to have someone who could keep up with her level of energy, even if he was twice her size. More play dates are sure to be in their future. This brings Timber’s boyfriend count up to four. She is busy!

Where the Buffalo Roam
Some months ago, Wolf Park received two new bison cows who were quickly named Thelma and Louise. They have been living separately while they were checked for illness and given their vaccinations. It also gave them time to get to know the park herd through the fence before joining the group. On Monday, Thelma and Louise finally joined the herd. It didn’t take long for everyone to busy themselves grazing and settling the new members into the family. There has been some head-butting and posturing among the girls while the new cows figure out the rank order, but they appear happy to belong.

Goodbye to a Good Friendwalk-for-wolves-2010-034-2
Wolf Park is sad to learn of the passing of Scott “Fargo” Quattrone, a longtime friend, supporter and volunteer. Scott, as his husky alter-ego “Fargo” has been a faithful attendee of our many events where he has assisted with soliciting donations, directing traffic, and entertaining the crowds. We’re grateful for the time we had with him and are sad to lose him far too soon. We’ll miss you, Fargo.

All I want for Christmas…
The holidays rapidly approaching. Consider giving your loved ones a great experience with a Wolf Park Membership, Seminar, Photo Shoot or Children’s Camp. We have something for the wolf, dog and fox lovers of all ages.

Future Puppy Playground
Thanks to some incredibly generous donations, we have almost reached our fundraising goal for the Puppy Enclosure and Recovery Pen. We are $250 away from groundbreaking! As you make your year end contributions, considering helping us finishing off our fundraising. Donate HERE and mark in the comment section that the donation is for the Puppy Enclosure.

Coming Events
12/17 Santa Claus Visits Wolf Park 1-4pm.
12/24 No Howl Night
12/31 No Howl Night
1/14 Winter Wolves 1-4pm


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Kailani, 2004 – 2016

kailaniprofile Kailani has left us.  The little puppy whose name meant “sea and sky” in Hawaiian grew up into a beautiful silver wolf.  She was the alpha female of the main pack for many years and retired during the winter of 2011-2012.  In retirement she was reunited with Tristan, whom she adored, and often her brother Renki, whom she tolerated.

Her loss was not unexpected, but we hoped it would not be so soon. This fall a mass or lump in her abdominal cavity led Dr. Becker to recommend exploratory surgery in October, after x-rays were inconclusive.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the lump was cancer, and there were many small nodules throughout Kailani’s mesenteries.  Her condition was inoperable and we put her in hospice care, monitoring her closely, tweaking pain medications as needed, and trying to keep her eating.  Though she lost weight during the fall she would eat, though sometimes only small amounts of favorite foods.  Whatever she wanted to eat, she got.  Medication could perk up her appetite and we also found that Renki was an effective appetite stimulant.  She’d eat food to keep it away from him.

Kailani still had spunk enough to threaten Ayla and Timber through the fence on the day before Thanksgiving, though otherwise she seemed tired and only ate a small amount of kielbasa. On Thanksgiving she started having moderately labored breathing. She was not agitated, but her resting respiration rate was elevated.  Dr. Becker came out in the evening and we sedated Kailani for further examination.  Dr. Becker warned us that even sedating her to draw off fluid from the body cavity to ease her breathing, was risky.  As Dr. Becker feared, complications arose when Kailani was anesthetized.  We took this as a sign that we were pretty much at the end of what we could do to keep her comfortable.  Dr. Becker did not think she was in pain, but very close to the end of her good time, so we said our good byes and Dr. Becker gave her the last mercy.

Of the many stories we tell about Kailani, one that comes to mind is an occasion in which she rolled on her back to demand a tummy rub and, in that posture, glared at Renki upside down.  He refused to walk past her – her threat stare was that good – and she was guarding a steak from him.  She was a beautiful, sometimes challenging, wolf who loved tummy rubs from good friends, and was eager to go out for walks. She will be remembered as a mighty huntress from the days when we did wolf-bison demonstrations, and wielder of an extremely powerful Death Stare.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Wolf Park! We are thankful this year for the continued healthy recovery of cancer survivor Renki, the amazing donations we’ve received toward the building of a recovery pen and improved fox enclosure; the arrival of new resident Timber, and the wonderful support we’ve received from our community, both locally and abroad. Thank you all and Happy Thanksgiving!


Wolfgang guarding Timber. Photo by Dana Drenzek

Three’s a Crowd
Wolfgang and Wotan have had two joint play dates with Timber. Three is a crowd when it comes to dating, and Wotan and Wolfgang are having trouble remembering their brotherly bond when a woman gets between them. The brothers spend these dates flagging their tails and growling at one another, while Timber provokes both by riding on their backs, flirting, and being a generally obnoxious two year old. The brothers try and guard Timber from one another, but she won’t hold still long enough to be guarded. Timber is a busy bee who would rather be exploring or playing than sitting quietly while the boys debate who gets the girl. Fortunately, because she is so lively, neither boy really wants her for very long, and they’re both happy to take a break and let the other brother deal with miss young and exuberant.

Timber also continues to have the occasional play date with Renki. Although she’ll bounce all over Wotan and Wolfgang, she is much more careful not to knock Renki around too much. He seems to like visiting her in small doses.

Timber will not be able to live with the brothers full-time because she is young, they are old, and she would break them. We are glad to give her many play date opportunities with them. Maybe it’ll lead to something special come breeding season…

Giving Tuesday
Taking care of the residents of Wolf Park and improving the facility takes time, effort and funds. Join us for Giving Tuesday to help provide care for the animals this winter season. Donations will be channeled toward feeding the animals, providing their vaccinations and improving enclosures.givingtuesdayposter


What’s Happening Elsewhere?
Here’s some cool information about Urban Coyotes.

A prat-falling fox won this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Competition. Check out some hilarious photos here.


Coming Events at Wolf Park
11/26 Turkey Toss. Help the wolves celebrate Thanksgiving by tossing them their turkey dinners. Delivery begins at 2pm.
12/1 Closed Season Begins. Wolf Park will be open Saturday evenings for Howl Nights and one Saturday afternoon a month until April. Check out our Calendar of Events for our open days.
12/17 Santa visits! Celebrate the holidays at Wolf Park. Help decorate Christmas Trees for the wolves, meet Santa and enjoy the chilly season. Open 1-4. Present delivery begins at 1:30.

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Animal Updates


Photo by Ryan Talbot

Renki Update
Renki is doing great! He and Ayla enjoyed a day in the big main enclosure last week and Renki seemed delighted to have room to really stretch his legs. A missing limb isn’t slowing him down at all!

Due to a full memory card on the camera, Renki didn’t get his picture taken during the pumpkin party, so he was forced to eat a second treat-filled pumpkin for photographic purposes. It was a trial Renki seemed fairly willing to undergo. He was very good at rolling the pumpkin and dumping out the treats that way. Once he’d finished the treats, Ayla destroyed the pumpkin.


Photo by Ryan Talbot

Scarlette Update
Scarlette the red fox has bounced back to normal. Her tests are all fine and the vet thinks she just had a soft tissue injury which was causing us concern. She isn’t thrilled with her fall fashion line. Right now we’re trying out doggy sweaters. She’s very good at taking them off. We’ll find a way to keep her belly warm until the fur grows back. Fortunately, our unseasonably warm fall is giving her time to fluff out once again.



Holiday Shopping
We’ve added several dozen new items to the online store. These include Christmas ornaments, winter scarves and the limited ‘Renki Spirit’ t-shirts. The holiday season is coming soon. Do your shopping with us!




Photo by Dana Drenzek

Some Shout Out Thanks!
We’re not sure who decided to mail Kailani blankets, but she’s grateful. It took her a couple days to use them but now we often find her stretched out on the lawn blanket. Thank you to the mysterious sponsor who gave our elderly wolf some comfort!

Thanks also to Kenny and Joel who came out for a full day of winterizing the park! We’re grateful for all the work they, and other volunteers, do for us throughout the year.

Thanks to everyone who voted for our scarecrow in the Prophetstown State Park Trail of Scarecrows. We took fourth place, our best ranking so far! We can’t wait for next year to see if our intrepid intern designers can rise to the challenge and build a winning wolf-crow.

What’s Happening Elsewhere?
Check out the Yellowstone Wolf Genealogy Project on Kickstarter! Once it’s up, you’ll be able to track the genealogies of the Yellowstone wolves and learn about the as individuals. It’s a great project for understanding what’s happening out west. Check it out!

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Fall Updates from Wolf Park

Purple is the New Orangethumb_dsc_1036_1024
Scarlette the red fox has been off her feed the past couple of weeks. She’s lively, she’s cheerfully squabbling with Joker, but she buries food instead of eating it. With a fox who usually gobbles everything in sight, this is cause for concern. It’s easy to tell who is eating the treats she buries as well since Joker is currently weighing in at nineteen and a half pounds.

Although it may be nothing, we didn’t want to take chances so Scarlette was taken to the vet for an ultrasound. Everything turned up normal on the tests. Unfortunately, the ultrasound meant our little fox had to have her belly shaved.

The fur should grow back quickly, but until then, Scarlette has become a fashion model. She’s been accommodating thus far regarding her new wardrobe. We hope the fluff will grow back before winter arrives, but if not, some of the volunteers are considering knitting her sweaters.

kantipumpkinIt’s the Great Pumpkin, Wolf Park!
The annual Pumpkin Party was a huge success from animal and human perspective alike. Kids helped stuff and deliver pumpkins to the waiting crowd of animals. Kanti, Bicho and Fiona played ‘swap the pumpkin’ for a very long time. Timber was a little nervous about the crowd. She grabbed her pumpkin away from the fence and carried it to a Safe Distance before consuming the treats. Kailani hasn’t been interested in treats lately so we filled hers with fresh beef. We aim to please. Of the bison, only Junior, the bull, showed up to eat so he consumed three pumpkins worth of apples and sweet feed. The weather was excellent and wonderfully warm for this time of year – some of the visitors even enjoyed popsicles after the festivities concluded.

Thanks to Brian Venghous for donating the pumpkins!

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What’s an Alpha?
If you watch television, you hear terms like ‘Alpha Male’ being thrown around in relation to humans with big egos or confident demeanor. Journalist Bethy Squires came by Wolf Park recently to discuss the meaning behind various terms and how they actually apply to science, not just how they are used (incorrectly) in our culture. Check out her article here.

2017 Calendars are Here!
The 2017 calendars have arrived! Enjoy twelve months with the animals of Wolf Park. Order yours today on our Online Store!


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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.

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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.

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