Tenino-based Wolf Haven International completed paperwork this week to absorb the McCleery Buffalo Wolf Foundation located in Bridger, Montana — along with its more than two-dozen wolves and 378 acres of land.
Today we pay tribute to Rocco, a male gray wolf who passed away in December. With his tawny coat and amber eyes, Rocco was stunning. Rocco and his sister, Natasha, came to live at Wolf Haven in 2005, after spending their first two years of life in private ownership.
Aside from a recurring skin issue during the rainy season, Rocco appeared to be a healthy and well-adjusted wolf, and celebrated his 14th birthday last spring. By then, he was living with his fourth companion, a female gray wolf named Sitka Rose, (having outlived his previous three enclosure mates).
When animal care staff conducted the walk-through on Friday December 8, Rocco didn’t come to the fence for treats like he normally did. Instead, he paced, seemed disoriented and had a noticeable head tilt. All symptoms were consistent with either post seizure or stroke. Animal care tried to offer him a meatball with medication, but he was not interested in food (very atypical for him). Given his condition and age, a seizure or stroke is not uncommon and we have observed it many times before in our senior residents. Because it would have been severely detrimental to catch him up (he is not tractable so it would have been stressful for him), the decision was made to let him be and monitor him closely. Even had we brought him into the clinic, there would not have been anything we could have done other than just wait and see- either he was going to rebound or he wasn’t. Whatever the outcome, we wanted it to be as peaceful and as least stressful as possible for him and his long-time friend, Sitka.
After spending the remaining morning and part of the afternoon pacing his enclosure, Rocco finally settled and lay down. When we checked on him just before dusk, Rocco was sleeping in the back of his enclosure. When he couldn’t be seen during the following morning walk-through, animal care staff went into the enclosure to search for him. Rocco was found in his den, tucked into a very deep chamber; he had passed sometime during the night. He looked very peaceful in that private space he had chosen as his last refuge.
Rocco is survived by his beautiful and playful friend Sitka who will surely miss him, as will all of us at Wolf Haven. We thank you for your support in providing a lifetime, loving home for Rocco and his three companions through all these years.
May your journey continue in peace, sweet Rocco.
Through the month of October, Wolf Haven will participate in several activities commemorating Wolf Awareness Week. You can find us in WA, OR and even CA. At the Portland Zoo, there will be craft tables where youth are encouraged to participate and earn awards like a paw print pendant or wolf poster.
Five years ago, Wolf Haven International launched a new summer overnight event, which we named A Midsummer’s Night. This unique evening is hosted only a few nights each summer for small groups of people.
Exciting news in the Mexican wolf population! The Interagency Field Team (IFT) has confirmed that a pup who was cross-fostered in 2014 survived and later went on to reproduce.
by Wolf Haven volunteer Greg Wellsandt
On Saturday, Wolf Haven volunteer visit guide Traci was giving the first visit of the day, assisted by her flip chart turner, Greg (that’s me). At Enclosure #5, a howl started way out in the off-visit area. It took a long time to gain momentum, but soon the whole gang was fully engaged in the music making. Caedus and Ladyhawk put on a show at the front of their enclosure as did Klondike and Mehina.
Ruby and Tala even made an appearance to lend their unique voices. The howl went on for a long time much to the delight of the visitors who were snapping photos and recording the sounds. Finally, Ladyhawk had enough. She decided it was time to shut Caedus up because she was in the mood to play. She bent over in a quasi-submissive pose and attempted to get his attention. When that didn’t work, she tried to grab his jaw to stop the howling. Caedus gave it a thought for a moment, but went back to what he loves almost as much as eating, howling.
Ladyhawk was not to be deterred and continued to try to get Caedus’s attention. Finally, the howl started to diminish and the two became engaged in a bit of gentle roughhousing. Our sanctuary visitors were treated to a wonderful live display of wolf communication.