We’ve been fortunate for the first 8-weeks of pup checks… all the red wolf pups were gathered up quickly and our work could occur without a hitch. This is not the case anymore with the pups almost three months old and moving around the habitat with the adults.
Monday morning was hot and sticky, even with a catch-up time a couple hours before our regular start of the day. Our team went into the wolf habitat as usual, but only two of the six pups were in the den. This meant a bit of corralling was in order. We adapted our plans and worked on getting the rest of the pups. Corralling means more movement for everyone– wolf and human. More movement in the heat means, well, you know what it means.
With the fifth pup caught, we stopped, as one of the yearling brothers– Ellerbe– was panting heavily. While disappointing not to get hands on all six pups and keep their checks, treatments, and vaccines all on the same schedule, the overall health of every wolf is critical. So, we stopped, let everyone rest, and began our pup check. (Every wolf just sits once we do our work with the pups).
The five pups we checked out were in great shape. A few cuts or healing cuts, dirty ears, random limping (earlier in the week), etc: all signs of an active individual living its life. At 11-weeks old, we see very large ears and very long legs developing. They look like mini-red wolves, with ears and legs accentuated.
Pup # 3, SB#2290, one of the larger males (Sprout is his name now) was the one who avoided our check. His weight has been consistent all along and he looks good (in the distance) so we’re not concerned about his avoidance of the day’s work
A few things to note in the picture below:
First, notice the long thick gloves on Janine’s and Katie’s hands. While pups don’t usually bite, at this age, Keepers will have this added protection .
Then, notice the Keeper’s grip. In previous pictures we often see the keepers “scruffing” the pups. Now, as the pups grow, the underhand grip is a very good one. Keepers use the elbow nook of one arm to support and wedge the head of the wolf (when done properly the wolf can easily breath and cannot bite you). Their other arm supports the weight of the pup.
Finally, not sure if you can tell, but we have a lot more crates. The smaller crates, which have housed all six pups now only house one. Larger crates house more pups, and we’ll start using those more now.
Finally, everyone is growing– even our little Rocket. He’s up to almost 6 Kgs while the others are 7.5-8.4 Kgs. Reports from folks at the habitat say he is out and about and often the first to eat– even hoarding rats in a pile.
Check out the Museum’s other communications for beautiful pictures of our massive family!