Many Rangers and Keepers spend more time at the wolf habitat than I do. I relish the stories they share with me. Here’s what Ranger Sarah shared with me from her time this past Wednesday with the wolves. (note that 2246 and 2247 are the one-year-old brothers)
I was at the wolves from 9-1 today. It was interesting and entertaining to watch the family now that the pups are starting to move on their own.
The pups spent the day on the left side of the enclosure. First thing this morning Mom was trying to get all her pups to the “den” spot against the hillside. A few pups were in the open yard area and became interested in Dad and 2247. Mom was not ok with that and ran and snarled at Dad and brother. (Dad literally just turned around so he wasn’t facing her when he got scolded!) 2247 hung out near Dad a lot this morning. Mom got 4 of the 6 pups wrangled and started nursing them while one climbed most of the way up the hill, and another sat under some bushes just watching them… Ultimately they all got fed, even though Mom had to retrieve the one under the bushes to nurse him alone.
Later in my shift the pups woke up and began wandering around. From this point on, 2246 was pretty interested in them anytime they emerged from the “den” area. Mom was regularly chasing him away. The funniest time, though, was when he lied down and 3 pups started climbing on him. Upon seeing this, Mom gave him a good muzzle bite which scared him off briefly, then he returned to the pups and they appeared to try to nurse on him. This startled him, so here is 2246 dodging the pups AND Mom, but he still isn’t going too far away, which means that Mom is having to manage him plus try to get her distracted puppies where she wants them! 2246 didn’t appear too concerned with the discipline, as I once noticed him playfully pawing at Mom after she snarled at him.
She is certainly struggling to transport them now, and the pups express their dislike of it! At one point Dad ran over to check in on the pup when it was squealing from Mom trying to pick it up. The smallest pup is very distinct, but he seemed to be partaking in all the activities equally.
Below, some video of some of the events relayed above. While not the best quality, it should give you another layer