Toll Free



Winter Update on Nira- 2000 - prepared 3/00

The winter season is well upon us and Nira is enjoying every moment. His black coat is thick and shiny, with touches of white mixed throughout. On 2-26-00 he weighed 105 lb. He makes a very impressive alpha wolf, although size is not the only component in an alpha wolf. We have given him the nickname "The King". He looks in very good health and all of his vaccinations are current and up to date. Nira has remained the wolf that is easiest to read and most social to humans. In August 1999, we saw the arrival of Ingo. During the past few months, Ingo enjoyed all the perks of being a "super puppy". Nira would let Ingo get away with many things; those that if Ingo were an adult, would have probably caused Nira to react differently. Nira would permit Ingo to feed along side him, giving him first dibs at the best food and constantly watching out for his safety. Now that Ingo is almost a year old, things have changed. Nira has begun to assert his dominance over Ingo, reminding the younger one who is boss. He seems to have tired of Ingo's puppy shenanigans. There have been several displays with grumbling, growling and agonistic puckering. They have all ended with Ingo in a very submissive position, although at times, obnoxiously submissive. Nira continues to be the alpha male of the pack with no question. On 12-13-00 we observed Ingo favoring one of his front paws. Both Nira and Keeley picked up on this and began to harass Ingo. We eventually left Nira and Ingo together in the main enclosure and put Keeley in the holding pen overnight. Nira did not harass Ingo any further that night. The Christmas season arrived with gifts for the wolves. Ruetenik Christmas Tree Farm generously donated leftover trees. We took these into the enclosure and hid the treats that the volunteers had brought out among the branches. Nira enjoyed poking his nose among the branches, trying to get as many biscuits as possible. On Christmas day each wolf received a 2-½ pound roast, pig ears and various "canine treats". Being the alpha, Nira is almost always the first to eat. He also eats the longest of all the wolves. Up until one week ago, he would let Ingo eat with him, making Keeley wait. Now Ingo is the last to eat. When it comes to eating, Nira doesn't fool around. He even decided to give us a hand one-day at feeding time. We had the carcass of a stillborn calf that we were bringing into the enclosure. We had moved the calf inside and we were proceeding to move it further into the enclosure. Nira walked over, grabbed a hold of the head and dragged it the rest of the way in without a peep, growl or snarl. Nira has never food guarded against humans. He seems quit comfortable allowing us to be within a few feet of him eating, but should Keeley or more so Ingo approach, we are the awestruck participants of the age-old rituals that have governed pack structure for eons. Agonistic puckering, raised hackles and growling are sure to send Ingo to the other side of the enclosure. The breeding season has came and gone and it has proved to be very interesting. Nira made sure that Ingo realized who was boss. Nira had been very solicitous of Keeley, always making sure she was within his line of vision. We were unable to document any ties between Nira and Keeley (this could be the result of Nira and Keeley being "littermates"). Nira did not let Ingo get very close to Keeley without some type of warning. In early January Monty Sloan from Wolf Park came to visit. The wolves remember Monty and are always very excited to see him. Nira especially enjoys soliciting belly rubs from Monty, as well as anyone else he can get them from. Monty is a well-known photographer and when he visits he takes pictures of the wolves. Out of the three wolves, Nira is the hardest to photograph. He just never sits still long enough. We continue to leash walk the wolves in order to keep them comfortable with this exercise in the case of an emergency. Plus, they enjoy a little adventure. Nira does very well with the leash. He is an eager explorer and makes good use of his leash walk time, investigating every fallen branch or hole in the ground. Nira currently has three wolf sponsors. He has developed a good relationship with two of his sponsors and we encourage this. We want all the sponsors to have the opportunity to interact with their sponsored wolf to the best of their combined abilities. In this way, we hope to further the human understanding of the wolf. We appreciate all of our sponsors and will strive to keep you involved and informed. We hope all of you get a chance to come and visit us this year.

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