It’s likely that everyone who is reading this knows that our pups had an unscheduled field trip (too many reports to link to, but one here and here to check out). We learned Monday morning that our pups were outside of the exhibit. The pups seemed to stay close to the wolf exhibit and scattered/hid on our first two attempts to bring them home. 7-8 week old pups can squeeze through anything, are small enough to hide in our woods and under bushes and not be seen even when you stand right near them; are fast enough to move like the wind and camouflage in a split second; and are scared of people. All good things for wild pups but not so good when we’re trying to catch them on a cliff in the woods.
We shut down the North part of campus and kept it quiet all day, with watchers silently observing and communicating the goings on at the wolf exhibit. We noticed several occasions throughout the day, dad (M1784), bringing food (and regurgitating food) to the fenceline and pushing it through for the pups to eat.
By the end of the day Monday we had three pups back in the enclosure, and had food, water, and live traps set out overnight for the last pup. Well before noon on Tuesday the family was finally reunited back in the exhibit. All pups were in great condition but were given fluids as a precaution.
We spent the rest of the day Tuesday intensely inspecting the wolf fence and attending to possible issues along the fence line.
Dr. Vanderford also came to check on the pups (and give them their first vaccines)– photos below from the check up.
After being checked out, we carried them back to the exhibit and let them go into the front den.
I am so appreciative of all the help that was offered. Pretty much every Museum staff member stepped up and did something to help. USFWS sent a couple of Red Wolf Recovery Program Wildlife Biologists (we called them and told them to turn around Tuesday morning when we caught the last pup). Red Wolf SSP Cooperators, Museum members, and friends sent well wishes, support, and food!
May this never happen again, but if an emergency happens at the Museum I know we’ll have the team in place to weather the storm.