Happy Monday everyone – A quick animal update:
The biggest news is we caught up quite a few of our male Species Survival Plan (SSP) animals for semen collection and banking last week. For two days we hosted the Point Defiance Zoo reproductive team as well as a reproductive specialist out of the St. Louis Zoo who is involved with the Mexican gray wolf program, and one of the vets we work with from Yelm Vet. Between all of the people, the wolves, and equipment, we still managed to all squish into the education room for the procedures.
We caught up our red wolf males, Tala and Jacob, on Thursday and the following day we caught up our three Mexican gray wolf pre-release brothers (M1066, M1067, M1135…[My] house names of Hobbs, Cejitos, and Slinky respectively). The catchup and procedures went well for everyone. Jacob’s samples were banked, but Tala’s samples had a low-ish sperm count. However, Ruby and Tala were seen tied just the day before so the timing for Tala’s collection wasn’t the best – the guess was that his ‘tank may have been empty’. The three brothers unfortunately didn’t have the best samples, but the team was still able to bank some of it. In addition, all of the wolves were given their ‘annuals’: vaccines, blood draw, and a physical exam by our vet. The wolves all recovered in their crates and were released, and thankfully everyone is doing fine after the procedure. In addition, all of the blood work looks good!
We’ve also had a fairly active breeding season so far. We have a total of four pairs of wolves recommended for breeding (as decided by the red and Mexican wolf SSP programs). We have seen both pairs of our red wolves tied (Jacob/Tamaska and Ruby/Tala), as well as one of our pre-release pairs of Mexican gray wolves (M752/F759 or house names of Coal/Fern).
We have an additional pair of pre-release Mexican gray wolves recommended, but haven’t seen them tied yet. This is a unique pair though, as the male is 15 years old! We’re all rooting for him, and keep in mind – just because we haven’t seen that pair tied doesn’t mean they haven’t. Now comes the waiting game…
Everyone else in the sanctuary is doing well.
Erik Wilber, Animal Care and Education Specialist