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Wolves in the Valley

12/21/2016:

The gray wolf is one of nature’s most majestic hunters. Weighing up to 175 pounds, it will prey on a variety of species … rabbits, beavers, deer, even bison and elk. Gray wolves will usually travel in packs of 2 to 15. This allows them to take down the larger prey. They are found in the northern Midwest and Canada, as well as Europe and Asia. Despite the fear that many people have of wolves, there is actually little record of wolves attacking humans.

One way to learn more about the gray wolf is to visit the Red River Zoo in Fargo. The wolf exhibit consists of a 1.2 acre enclosure and a replica trapper’s cabin that contains information about the wolves and large windows looking out upon the enclosure.

When the exhibit first opened there were five wolves, Moose, Sirius, Mozart, Orion, and Ella. They were received as pups in June of that year, and had to be under 24-hour surveillance so they got used to humans. They were fed a diet of about 3 pounds of meat per day, donated by local hunters.

The wolf pack lived in harmony for five years, until the summer of 2012 when Sirius died from a twisted stomach. Mozart had to be euthanized two years later because of a brain tumor. The absence of two disrupted pack dynamics. Moose and Ella began showing aggression towards Orion, so he had to be shipped off to the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, leaving only Ella and Moose.

Not for long though! In the summer of 2015, the zoo received four new pups! For the first few weeks, the pups were off display while being introduced to the older wolves. After several weeks of closely-supervised contact, the wolves were finally released into the exhibit.

And while today might be the first official day of winter, the season can still be a good time to visit your local zoo as many of the animals enjoy their natural climate in the great white north. Check local hours – North Dakota has zoos in Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and Wahpeton.

A Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas.

Bibliography

"Red River Zoo Receives Grey Wolf Pups - Red River Zoo | Fargo, ND." Red River Zoo Fargo ND. N.p., 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 13 June 2016.