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New pups for a new season

New members of the pack will be part of programs starting next month

Keith Vandervort
Posted 5/18/22

ELY - The International Wolf Center is adding two pups to its Exhibit Pack this year. The pups have arrived at the Wolf Center and will be visible to the public starting in early June.“These …

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New pups for a new season

New members of the pack will be part of programs starting next month

Posted

ELY - The International Wolf Center is adding two pups to its Exhibit Pack this year. The pups have arrived at the Wolf Center and will be visible to the public starting in early June.
“These ambassador wolves allow us to teach thousands of people a year about the real behavior of wolves,” said Lori Schmidt, the Center’s wolf curator. “The Exhibit Pack is also a key part of the online programs we offer to schools across the world. These ambassadors are a key part of our aim to teach the world about wolves.”
She added, “The Wolf Center believes in wolf education, and one method for accomplishing the mission of advancing survival of wolf populations in the wild is through the use of ambassador wolves.”
The Ely Wolf Center planned to add pups in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to delay those plans.
The Wolf Center planned to add two pups last year but was able to obtain just one pup. “Adding pups this year was important for the health of the pack, and to allow our yearling wolf, Rieka, to experience some pup behavior she lacked as a singleton,” Schmidt said.
“So often people portray wolves for their predatory behavior and don’t appreciate the intricate pack life and social organization that keeps them together as a social unit,” she said. “As curator, it is my job to maintain a socially cohesive unit of wolves, and we recognize that to do this, new life must be added to the exhibit.”
The International Wolf Center is a non-breeding exhibit, and when pups are added, they coordinate with another professional animal organization. The source is dependent upon reproductive plans within their facility and availability. The Wolf Center always acquires captive-born pups.
The 2022 pups were acquired from a USDA regulated facility in Minnesota. They will join the three wolves in the Exhibit Pack, including Axel and Grayson, each six years old, and Rieka, who turns one year on May 23.
One way for Wolf Center visitors to see the pups is through an outdoor viewing area adjacent to the wolf yard, where pups will be spending time conditioning to the human component of a public exhibit. These programs are dependent on the weather, according to Schmidt. They last 15 minutes each and are held throughout the day.
“We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but safety of our guests, our staff and the wolves is paramount,” said Director Krista Woerheide.
Another way to see the 2022 wolf pups is with a one-hour behind-the-scenes tour. These tours are only available for members of the International Wolf Center. Information about membership is available at www.wolf.org.
The International Wolf Center will conduct a pup naming contest beginning in early June and announce the names at a special virtual fundraising event on Tuesday, June 14, Woerheide said.
Advance tickets are available for purchase. “Everyone who wants to guarantee themselves a chance to see the pups should get an advance admission ticket,” she said. “To get tickets, click the ‘Book Now’ button on the lower right-hand side of the page at www.wolf.org. For members of the Wolf Center, entrance tickets are free. We recommended that members also book their tickets in advance.”

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