ELY – The International Wolf Center will defer bringing in two wolf pups until 2021 due to significant concerns for staff and volunteer health during the COVID-19 outbreak. “This was a …
ELY – The International Wolf Center will defer bringing in two wolf pups until 2021 due to significant concerns for staff and volunteer health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This was a difficult decision and I’m sure it will be disappointing for many of you,” said Executive Director Grant Spickelmier. “The process of bringing in wolf pups and socializing them is intensive and involves several staff and volunteers providing 24-hour care and monitoring over several weeks in May and June, right when the peak of COVID-19 cases is anticipated to occur in Minnesota.”
After review of staffing, facilities, and what Wolf Center staff currently knows about the coronavirus and its ability to spread, Spickelmier said it was determined that the potential health risks to center staff and volunteers were too high to justify moving forward this year.
According to Spickelmier, the pups had been scheduled to come from the Wildlife Science Center, an education and research organization in Forest Lake.
“The pups will now remain at their facility and be incorporated into their wolf program,” he said. “The Wolf Center plans to provide financial support to the Wildlife Science Center to help with pup care and hopes to obtain pups from them in 2021.”
Typically, adding pups on a four-year cycle to the Wolf Center’s pack of ambassador wolves helps maintain pack dynamics.
“Since two pups will not be brought in this year as planned, Wolf Center staff are developing a new management plan to support the Ambassador Pack until pups can be added in 2021,” he said.
The Ambassador Pack of wolves is just one way that the Wolf Center teaches the world about wolves. During this pandemic, free online programming is being offered to students and adults throughout the world. More information on that programming can be found at wolf.org.
The Ely center tentatively plans to reopen on Friday, May 8, but that will depend on the latest recommendations from the state, Spickelmier said. The center is scheduled to open seven days a week starting May 18.
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