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Wolfkeeper Notes
July 31, 2007

A new Home has been found!

Image of three wolves

Image of Socorro
I just returned from another successful Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. This annual meeting takes a great effort of all of the captive Mexican wolf facilities to gather once a year to learn from others on both fronts of wolf recovery in the Southwest. For me, it was also successful because I was able to find a home for the three female wolves-the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, MN.

The first stage of the plan will be to separate out the four male wolves and put them in our Large Animal Holding facility at the Animal Hospital area. This way we can watch the three females and make sure that they are getting along. Although it might be possible to put the three females down at the hospital, we would have a very difficult time in observing their behavior due to the way the hospital is set up for observers. By keeping the females in the larger exhibit, we will also be able to offer the group a larger area to figure out the new arrangement, and utilize the skills of the zoo volunteers in helping to watch for any signs of trouble that may occur.

If the three are getting along well, then we will begin making plans for transferring the females to their new home. Also, we will probably do the female's annual exams before they leave the zoo for their new home to make sure all things are in order. Wild animals have a great ability to hide illness, especially a shy animal like a wolf. This way we can get our hands on them, take a blood sample, get a weight and see "up close and personal" how they are doing. This will also get some information to the new facility ahead of time, so they can see what condition the wolves are in before they arrive in the fall.

If the three females are NOT getting along, then we will have to re-evaluate things. I do feel comfortable in believing that once the males are removed from the situation, things should return to the way they were before the introduction. For one thing, 99% of the aggressive interactions towards the two females were done by the males-very rarely by the single female (and never without a male by her side leading the way). Understanding the dynamics of a wolf pack is a very challenging part of my job—I continue to learn from others, analyze the behaviors of the group I have now, and remember first and foremost—I am NOT in control of everything. Things are going to happen with or without me—sometimes they happen BECAUSE of my actions—but it is what it is. So, we will just have to see what is going to happen.

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