July World of Wolves – Mexican pups get first health check

Six-week old Mexican wolf pup.

Six-week old Mexican wolf pup at first health check.

Mexican wolf parents M1360 (Kochi) and F1422 (Vida) had a litter of nine pups at Wolf Haven on April 30.

Surprise wolf pup at McCleery Ranch

Unexpected McCleery wolf pup

by Wendy Spencer,  Director of Operations, Wolf Haven International

We have some unexpected news to share from our McCleery Ranch in Montana.

One of the biggest challenges here at McCleery Ranch has been managing the aggression between the females in two large family groups As a reminder, we care for 34 wolves here and though several are in pairs,  there are two large family groups and both have multiple reproductively viable females,  who are far more prone to aggression during breeding season than males. Although at this time we have no plans to breed the McCleery wolves, they all still remain intact, which poses a definite challenge.

Wolves are seasonal breeders (winter), so prior to breeding season we made the decision to remove some of the females from the largest group which consisted of ten females and four males. In January, we were able to chemically immobilize via a remote drug delivery system (dart gun) four of the females from that group and move them to the one vacant enclosure that we had on site, reducing that group to six females and four males. And while there was still some aggression between them, it was much more reduced than what we saw our first year here.

Four members of a McCleery Ranch group.

Four members of a McCleery Ranch group.

During the breeding season, we were able to separate one of the family groups into same sex groups, but even though aggression levels were reduced, we were concerned about sealing all six females in a single enclosure (they currently have access to two enclosures with a corridor that connects them so they are able to move back and forth).  Based on their history and given the fact that when we did semen collection the year before the males had no viable sperm, we made the decision to leave the group together.

Surprise! Turns out one of the males was still reproductively viable – because we ended up with one little female pup. As a sanctuary, breeding does not align with our philosophy (with the exception of our participation in Mexican and red wolf Species Survival Plan programs {SSP}). Wolf Haven takes precautions to make sure that we are not intentionally breeding more wolves to spend their lives in captivity (where, of course, wolves do not belong). However, the pup is here, and we will do whatever we can to give her the best life possible, as we do with all our animals. She is about 8 weeks old now and the rest of the family dotes on her… she pretty much runs the show!

Mexican Wolf Pair Welcome Nine Pups

Furry pile of pups sleeping in their underground den.

Furry pile of pups sleeping in their underground den.

Mexican wolf parents M1360 (Kochi) and F1422 (Vida) had a litter of nine pups at Wolf Haven on April 30. Although Wolf Haven does not breed the rescued wolves who call our sanctuary home – we wouldn’t want to contribute to the tragedy of wild animals living in captivity – we occasionally have litters of species who have been designated as critically endangered: red wolves (Canis rufus) and Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi).

Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs are cooperative animal programs designed to oversee the population management of select species in captivity in order to enhance their conservation in the wild.

One of two collared wolves release into the wild in 2013.

One of two collared wolves release into the wild in 2013.

Mexican wolves were declared endangered in 1976. Since 1994, Wolf Haven has actively participated in their recovery, both as a captive breeding facility and one of only three pre-release sites in the US. Toward that end, there have been 10 litters of Mexican wolves born at Wolf Haven, the first one arriving in 1996. Three families from Wolf Haven have been released into the wild, with the Hawk’s Nest family group being among the first three packs of Mexican gray wolves released into the federally designated reintroduction area in Arizona’s Apache National Forest.

From our first “official” photo of Vida and Kochi’s litter, all in a furry pile in their den, to their first required health care check six weeks later, these five males and four females have certainly grown. They will receive their second round of inoculations, deworming and also get microchips later this month. In the meantime, the nine pups all appeared healthy and robust, as you can see at their first checkup.


Sculpture of McCleery Wolf Planned – Bradford Era

The Kane Historic Preservation Society and the McCleery Discovery Center hope to see just that in the form of a metal sculpture to be installed in front of the Kane Depot at the intersection of Fraley and Biddle streets.

June World of Wolves – Thank you for your support!

Although Wolf Haven may be closed to the public, our thoughts are with our community. This is an extremely challenging time and we face an unknowable future. Through it all, though, we remain a family.

May World of Wolves – Two years later at McCleery Ranch

We check in with Wendy Spencer in Montana. She gives us an update on shoveling snow, acquiring deceased bulls, separating family groups of wolves and waiting for genetic test results.

Meet Volunteer of the Quarter – Beth Barham

Beth Barham making loaf for the wolves

Beth Barham making loaf for the wolves.

by Cindy Irwin, Director of Education & Volunteer Services, Wolf Haven

What makes a team of volunteers successful? Some of the elements include:

·         Passion for the mission of Wolf Haven
·         A desire to work for people as well as animals
·         Versatility
·         A willingness to learn and share that knowledge respectfully

These qualities are exemplified by our volunteer of the quarter, Beth Barham. Beth is one our most busy volunteers, because she wears many hats. Not only does Beth help make loaves of meat for the wolves using yummy meats like tripe, heart, and kidneys, she also is a member of our cemetery clean up crew. Beth enjoys public interaction at educational events, and she assists me in the volunteer department. Whatever the task, Beth shows up with a smile and a gracious attitude.

Beth comes to us from California, where she and her husband raised 4 children. Now retired, Beth gets to fulfill her love of nature and animals by volunteering, hiking, and camping. Beth’s household includes three dogs, one cat, two birds, and a turtle! This busy gal also volunteers with foster children, giving back to our community in yet one more way.

I often think of our volunteer team as the engine and fuel that drive Wolf Haven.  Beth is an example of one of the vital parts of this engine, without which we could not continue as a sanctuary. We are all grateful for your work and energy Beth. We look forward to many years to come!  

Wildlife Handling & Chemical Immobilization for Wildlife Professionals in MT cancelled

DUE TO THE COVID-19 health crisis, Wolf Haven will no longer host this course at our satellite sanctuary in Montana. Stay tuned for upcoming information about whether or not a similar course will be held in Tenino, WA in the fall.

Wolf Haven will offer this 3-day course at our McCleery Ranch in Bridger, Montana. Course dates are May 19-21 (with an optional additional free day of presentations on Monday, May 18). This class is intended for wildlife agency personnel and other wildlife professionals and is taught by Dr. Mark Johnson of Global Wildlife Resources.

Classroom lecture and hands-on labs focus on the needs of researchers and managers to understand the skills and equipment associated with wildlife capture, physical restraint, and chemical immobilization. The course also covers each aspect of animal handling such a radio-collaring, weighing, sample collection and patient monitoring.

Includes course notebook and labs each day. Participants  receive a Certificate of Training upon course completion. Contact Wendy Spencer for additional information or if you would like to register.

Student examining wolf during lab.

Student examining wolf during lab.

Course content includes:

  • Five-step preparation for field operations
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Professionalism
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Immobilizing drugs
  • Patient monitoring
  • Marking sampling
  • Veterinary emergencies
  • Euthanasia
  • Human safety
  • Ethical issues
  • Honoring each animal through equipment and techniques

About Global Wildlife Resources, Inc.
Global Wildlife Resources, Inc. (GWR) is a progressive organization dedicated to supporting wildlife professionals and bringing honor, care, and respect to those animals affected by research and management by:

  1. Promoting and improving animal welfare (in a non-prescriptive manner) in programs and activities relating to wildlife research and management.
  2. Teaching the highest quality courses in wildlife capture, chemical immobilization and handling.
  3. Providing professional preparation and field assistance with wildlife captures, transport, and disease investigations.


Pre-order of film will benefit Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven is excited to let our supporters know that the acclaimed documentary The Trouble With Wolves is now available for Pre-order. Many people have asked us how they can see this film – here is your chance. AND if 250 orders are reached, 50% of pre-release sale proceeds will be donated to Wolf Haven!

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Cindy recognizes Wolf Haven volunteers at previous Volunteer Appreciation picnic.

Cindy recognizes Wolf Haven volunteers at previous Volunteer Appreciation picnic.

by Cindy Irwin, Director of Education and Volunteer Services

April 19-25, 2020 is National Volunteer Week. And Wolf Haven International would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU yet again to our wonderful volunteers.

Wolf Haven is so grateful for the talented and energetic volunteers who work with us for wolf conservation. So much progress has been made in recent years. Together, we have created a true sanctuary for both wolves and people. It is a joy to share a passion for animals and wildlife with all of you. Thanks for your work in the sanctuary, the classroom, with events, in the prairie, and the office. We could not imagine doing our important work without you!

Volunteer Rosina Newton & others getting food

Volunteer mtg

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead