Wolf Center Prepares Pups for Transition to Pack

By KBJR News 1

July 9, 2012 Updated Jul 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM CST

Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The International Wolf Center in Ely is getting ready to welcome their youngest members to the wolf pack. They hope that their two wolf pups will join the pack by the end of the month.

"It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to get them ready to go into the pack," said the Center's Director of Education, Jerritt Johnston,
"We got them when they were very new. Somewhere between 12 and 20 days old and we've been working with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

Assistant curator, Donna Prichard has been one of many working to socialize the pups to the presence of both humans and other wolves.

"We're getting them used to our presence. We're getting them used to human handling," Prichard said, "They have to get acclimated to that at a very young age."

It's an important process for the Center, as human contact is maintained with the wolves throughout their adult life.

"We're getting them used to human handling. For example, things that we're doing are handling their ears when they're asleep [and] touching their paws," said Prichard.

The only bump in the transition so far seems to be when Luna, the female pup, fractured her leg. It's a setback that could mean she'll join the pack a few weeks after the male pup, Boltz.

"She did have surgery at the University of Minnesota about two months ago," said Prichard, "They put a steel plate on the femur to help it heal."

According to the center, the pups are almost ready to join the pack. They just have a little more growing to do. In the meantime, their cute factor is bringing in a lot of visitors.

"There's a large awe factor," said Johnston, "Because they are very cute."

According to Center officials, they get new wolf pups about every four years.