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JayinMN

Wolves

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Its been a few years since I have been to the Wolf Center so we made a trip up to Ely today. All of these were shot through glass of course and with the gray, drizzly, overcast day lighting was a challenge. I found it easier to focus on the Arctic wolves because they are lighter in color. Today was the most active I have ever seen the wolves. A lot of things have been happening there lately with the pack. Two wolf cubs have been brought in and will be joining the pack soon and one of the pack leaders was forced out and had to go into retirement. Made for a great day of wolf watching.

whitewolf.jpg

whitewolf2.jpg

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whitewolf4.jpg

graywolf.jpg

pack.jpg

pack2.jpg

And one of the cubs that will be joining the pack soon, looking out at the audience from his play pen. pupwolf.jpg

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I guess these are wolves and your pics are great but Jay in reality they are just semi domesticated dogs . Wolves although rarely seen in the wild act completely different from these penned ones and always will .

I've trapped my share of real wolves and seen some wolves in pens like these but they differ much although they often look alike .

Beautiful creatures they are and the one critter I admire the most in the wild and a few stories I could tell .

Artic wolves are lighter boned in stature than the big timbers but the genetics are the same although they evolved over the years differently to the enviroment and their prey .

Nice pics .

Follow the tracks of a truly wild pack in the snow sometime and you will see a piece of the unique soul of the wolf and know what I mean .

TD

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Great shots, Jay. Wild or captive, I never get tired of watching wolves operate.

You mentioned a pack leader had been forced into retirement, but it was one of the Arctics that's led the pack for several years (since the newer wolves were introduced four years ago) and I see them both in some of the pics.

Do you know which animal was forced into retirement? If it was one of the four-year-olds, that's a long time to live out in that retirement enclosure. The wolf center's online wolf logs don't mention anything about it.

I know that MacKenzie, a 15-year-old female wolf who had been retired some years ago, died late last month. And the staff have been easing the transition of losing her litter mate for Lakota, the last surviving retirement wolf, by giving her some access to the rest of the pack and the pups. Could be they just had to stop that. Dunno.

Anyway, again, nice pics, Jay, and thanks for sharing them with us. Sure is great spending time there. gringrin

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Steve I have my information mixed up. I actually was talking to a member that visits a few times a year from Chicago instead of a staff member. I guess I assumed since they knew all the wolves names and they have been coming since it was a ranger station they were a fairly reliable source. Lakota is in the retirement pen by herself, your right she was one of the sisters in the retirement pen. I swear when they had the pups in the auditorium they said that the leader switched, but I think that is Grizzer they have on his back to the second to last picture. I may have to go back... grin I am going to go back one of these weekends to watch them feed them a deer carcass, probably not till the pups are in there though.

Trapperdirk, I am from northern Minnesota and a trapper myself. We have plenty of wild wolves up here as well, followed plenty of tracks and observed them in the wild. I hope if you ever make it to Ely you visit the center......grin

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Jay, Shadow is still the acknowledged leader of the ambassador pack, though Grizzer has been testing him. The Arctics are eight years old now, and it's likely before too awful long that Grizzer will take things over. Thats my bet, anyway.

If you haven't yet seen the "what's for dinner" weekly event, it's a lot of fun. It will be even more interesting to watch the behavior after the pups are introduced, as you mentioned.

The center's a good place to visit for anyone who enjoys wolves. I too follow them around whenever possible out in the woods, and have had my share of encounters, but I always like it when I spend time at the wolf center.

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Still trying to figure out what Grizzer thinks of the new pups:

IWC2.jpg

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Boy have the little ones grown. They didn't let them out in the yard to play yesterday because of the rain. When they brought them out of the theater the adults got really excited and and they all went to the fence to see if they were in the puppy enclosure. When no pups showed up they all started howling and they kept going back to look for them. They are definitely curious about them.

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