The gray wolf, Canis lupus, is the largest extant member of the genus Canis and possess highly advanced social behavior. Wolves are a highly adaptable and resilient species and are the progenitor of the domestic dog, C. l. familiaris. Like its cousin, the red wolf, the gray wolf is distinguished from other wild canids by its larger size, less pointed features, and its more gregarious nature.
Originating in the Pleistocene and once the world’s most widely distributed mammal, its traditional range encompassed North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, making it the only member of Canis to encompass both Old World and New World territory. Today the gray wolf is extinct in much of Western Europe and North America, though their reintroduction to public lands in the United States has repatriated wolves to several areas. The gray wolf’s original worldwide range has been reduced by roughly 33% by deliberate persecution, mainly due to fear of attacks on humans and conflict with agriculture.
Continued threats include competition with humans for livestock and game species, exaggerated concern by the public regarding the threat and danger of wolves, and fragmentation of habitat, with resulting areas becoming too small for populations with long-term viability.
The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates (caribou, elk, bison, and deer), though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage. It is a cursorial predator, meaning that it chases its prey until exhaustion rather than ambushing or trying to overwhelm prey quickly.
Roland, our subordinate wolf, is the sillier guy by far. Sometimes he takes the role of a pesky brother—he definitely likes to annoy Trekkie with the old "I'm not touching you" game, one paw in hovering in the air. He's also decided that treats are more fun to play with than to eat, and rolls all over anything even mildly stinky. Bits of meat included! (Try being a keeper and finding old chicken hidden away under rocks and logs. Icky! But Roland's definitely laughing.) He's slightly shyer than Trekkie and, during tours, sometimes stands a little behind his brother, allowing Trekkie to investigate their new fans first. It isn't that Roland is afraid—he knows humans too well for that—but he's definitely an introvert.
In our pack of two wolves, Trekkie Wolf is the obvious leader -- a role he takes VERY seriously. He's a "rules" guy for sure and typically carries himself with all the grace of a head-of-state, his chest and tail high and proud. His brother Roland is the only four-legged creature who can get this dignified wolf to act a bit goofy. The two often play tag, and Trekkie's usually willing to be chased. Trekkie is also usually the more bold when visitors arrive, his eyes shiny with curiosity. If they have scent enrichment for him to roll on...even better! He especially loves children and expresses his curiosity about these tiny primates with a polite flick of the ears.
We welcomed the arrival of our British Columbian wolf pups on June 2nd, 2019 when they were just seven weeks old. We are thrilled to be expanding our existing wolf pack! Like our adult wolves, Trekkie and Roland, the pups are a subspecies of the gray wolf. While Trekkie and Roland’s white coats indicate that their genetic lineage is Arctic, Sitka and Rayne display characteristics indicative of British Columbian heritage. Sitka and Rayne grew rapidly after arriving at the Animal Park, and they’re not done yet! They will continue to grow until they reach their adult sizes, at around their first birthday. We expect them to grow to be slightly larger than Trekkie and Roland.