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Wolfkeeper Notes
May 11, 2007


The Pack is still together...for Now

Image of a female wolf
Things have settled down in the pack since we are out of the breeding season and the weather is warming up.

There really isn't too much new to report since the February Keeper note: the cuts to the faces of two of the wolves have healed nicely, with just a few noticeable things like a scar here and there to indicate there was any type of dominance challenge. The third ranked male who began the challenge (Tano) is still the dominant male, with the previously Number 1 (Frisco) down at the bottom of the pile in the group of males. The other two males, Ulie and Raja basically just stayed clear of the whole thing and are number 2 and 3 respectively.

Unfortunately, things haven't changed with our three females either. Since the first day of the introduction last November, I have been in constant contact with both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in the Mexican wolf program and the Coordinator of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), as well as the director of the facility that sent us the females and the SSP's husbandry advisor. All three agree that we have tried every option to try that is safe for the wolves, and that the best plan would be to send the three females to another facility in the program. This of course is dependant on the fact that the three females will still be a group that gets along when the males are not around. Since one of the females gets along with the four males and has been involved with keeping the other two females separated from the rest of the group, this may or may not be the case. There is no way to know for sure until we do a separation of the two sexes. Right now we don't have the space to do so, but should be able to do the evaluation soon. Lastly, there is a call out to several zoos in the program to see if they might be able to take the girls before the annual meeting in July. I am crossing my fingers, but I also realize that the captive program of this recovery project is "bursting at the seams" with over 300 wolves. This is one reason why the Minnesota Zoo attempted the introduction we did last year-trying to manage larger groups of wolves in compatible groupings without producing more pups than can be properly managed by the entire group of facilities in the U.S. and Mexico.

Hopefully in the next Keeper Note I will have the name of the new facility that will be taking the three girls (hopefully all three will get along just like they did before meeting our males). For now, I hope you will take the time to come out and see the group-and see the new pair of wolves on the Minnesota Trail. These two wolves are of the subspecies called Great Plains gray wolves, and will be ready for viewing the first part of July. Try and see if you can tell the difference between the two difference types of gray wolf!

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