Aspen was born to Timber and Wotan in 2017. There were five puppies raised at Wolf Park that year. Instead of joining an existing pack, Aspen, Máni, Niko, Sparrow, and Khewa were raised to be a new ‘puppy-pack’, and they’ve been a happy group so far.
Aspen was a large and laid-back pup during his first summer, and remained amiable even into winter. He ended up the lowest ranking of the males, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him. He likes to start games of ‘keep-away’, and sometimes deliberately annoys Niko to see how far he can push him. He enjoys hanging around people, but not necessarily interacting with them.
The park has a rowboat which photographers like to use to photograph the wolves standing on the shore of the lake. Aspen was the first puppy to ride in the boat, and he loved it. Photo groups often ended up with Aspen and Máni riding out on the lake with them.
April 6, 2012
Fiona was born to Dharma and Wolfgang along with her five siblings. Fiona and her brothers, Kanti and Bicho, were chosen to live at Wolf Park for their lives.
Originally they joined their parents in the main pack but Fiona didn’t get along with her mother so the pack was split into two trios. Kanti, Bicho and Fiona were happy to have a pack of their own.
As the only female in the pack, Fiona gets to do whatever she wants, but she also has to put up with being chewed on by her brothers. Fortunately for her, they stop when she tells them to do so. She is a good swimmer and a good hunter. She has been known to catch birds and other creatures inside the enclosure. Once she caught a baby Canada goose.
Although Fiona can’t have pups, she became foster mother to the 2017 litter and did an amazing job teaching the five pups all about interacting with adult wolves.
Fiona is very fond of men’s beards. She also enjoys rolling on people’s heads. Unfortunately, she is currently in the stage of her life when female wolves can become difficult with human strangers, particularly women. She is currently restricted to only meeting people she’s known for a long time.
April 6, 2012
Kanti was born to Dharma and Wolfgang along with his 5 siblings. He started fussing shortly after being born and we found he was literally a “born complainer”. Called Mama’s Boy as a puppy due to his tendency for whining, Kanti grew into a big bouncy bundle of wolf, who is now completely convinced that he is, and should be, Alpha Wolf.
In the spring of 2013 the main pack was split into two trios. Siblings Kanti, Bicho and Fiona were happy to have a pack all to themselves. Kanti emerged as the dominant male, mostly by insisting he was the dominant male. Despite Kanti’s insistence that all should tremble before him, he and his brother, Bicho, are quite inseparable. They run to the other for comfort, press their hindquarters together when they’re nervous, and jointly tease their sister.
Kanti acts big and brave, but the staff knows otherwise. He was once frightened by Gypsum, the grey fox, who threatened him through the fence. Kanti hid behind Bicho and has never lived down the indignity.
Kanti enjoys meeting new people, even if he can be a little mouthy. He likes to have his legs rubbed and belly scratched. His unique coloration was inherited from his arctic wolf grandmother.
Niko came to Wolf Park in 2017 from Wolf Mountain along with his sister, Khewa. They joined the pups born at Wolf Park that year to form a puppy pack of five. Niko is the only black colored pup in the group and easy for visitors to identify.
Niko loves playing with objects. His favorite toy in the nursery was a stuffed duck, earning him the nickname, ‘Niko-Beako’. Now that he’s older, he still likes finding sticks, bones, boxes and other things to carry around or shred. He is the most easily startled of the puppies. The staff has had to work hard to overcome his uncertainty of various objects, situations and people.
Niko enjoys training, following people around, playing with his sister, and reminding Aspen that he’s bigger than him now. As a pup, Niko was prone to getting angry easily if upset, but he’s worked on his temper, and is much better about wrestling with his siblings without becoming irritable.
Sparrow was the smallest of the pups born in 2017 to Wotan and Timber. She remained on the small side, but did grow larger than her diminutive mother. The five pups, Sparrow, Khewa, Aspen, Máni, and Niko, have remained a pack of five youngsters on into adulthood. So far they’re all happy together.
Sparrow is considered a genius among the staff. She loves to train and she’s very good at learning new skills. The staff nicknamed her ‘Hermione’, because she’ll push other pups out of the way if she knows the answer to a training game. She’s also an explorer with no fear of new places. While the other pups are generally found as a group, Sparrow is frequently off doing her own thing. She’s a passionate hunter of rodents, and is starting to make eyes at the Canada geese in the lake.
Timber is a petite wolf who was born at Safari North Zoo, in Brainerd, Minnesota, in the spring of 2014. She grew up at Wildlife Encounters, an education/rescue facility in Omaha, Nebraska. They agreed to raise her, socialize her, and help find her a home as they were not equipped to look after a wolf for its whole life. They asked if we might provide her with a permanent home and we said yes.
She arrived well after sunset on December 11. She spent her first night indoors, snuggling with staff members. The next day she moved outside, and was immediately overwhelmed by the visitors who arrived for the annual holiday party. The staff spent long months getting her used to the idea of tours and visitors.
By the end of her first year at the park, Timber had warmed up to the idea of visitors, crowds and other wolves. She had boundless energy and loved to have visitors – both human and wolf. She loved to visit the park’s male wolves and has had regular play dates with Wotan, Renki, Wolfgang and Bicho. Timber loves all the boys, although most of the boys find her exhausting.
In 2017, she and Wotan became the parents of five pups. Timber took good care of them while they were in the den, but seemed confused how to behave once they could walk around. She treated them as if they were adult wolves, which frightened the puppies. By August, the female pups were starting to threaten Timber, so she stopped visiting them. She still enjoys visits with the male pups, but even they can’t handle her level of energy for long.
She is a little shy of new people but warms up quickly, sometimes growing so excited to have company that she’ll run in circles around her enclosure. The interns have made her a variety of toys. One of her favorites was two cow-hide balls, which she tossed around happily. She also loves interesting scents, towels and anything she can tear apart.
Born April 18, 2005
Wotan was born to Erin and Chetan and was everyone’s favorite pup of the litter. While the other pups would be squirming around chewing on visitors, Wotan would be sitting at someone’s feet, gazing affectionately up at them and gently requesting love and attention.
Although some people find it hard to tell Wotan and his brother apart, the best place to look is at their eyes. Wolfgang has little white “eyebrows” above each eye while Wotan has a much lighter, plain colored face.
After being added to the pack, Wotan grew to be one of the largest wolves in the enclosure. He and his brother were great friends who ganged up on their older brothers in order to achieve higher ranks in the pack. They eventually drove the dominant male from the pack. Wolfgang took over as the new alpha. Wotan wasn’t always willing to accept that, so there was sometimes grumping between the brothers.
In 2013, the main pack was split to ease tension among the wolves. Within a few years, Wotan and Wolfgang were living together in quiet ‘retirement’ away from the busy youngsters of the big pack. They got along much better without pestering youngsters.
In 2016, Wotan received a girlfriend in the form of young Timber. She thought he was very cute. He found her exhausting, but he still liked her. The staff hoped she and he would father a litter of puppies and continue the Wolf Park line of wolves.
Wotan continues to be a wonderful sponsor wolf, giving out kisses quite freely. He is always agreeable to making new friends and posing for photographs.
Máni was born in 2017 to Timber and Wotan. He was named after the Germanic moon god, which connected him with his father, who was also named after a Germanic deity.
Máni was a late-bloomer among the puppies. For most of his first summer, he was just one of the crowd, and did little to stand out. Autumn brought changes to Máni, who suddenly became the biggest pup in the pack, and proved to have the confidence to tower over his brothers. He still is something of a lazy pup. If he can convince humans to toss him treats while he lies quietly, he’ll do it. When he does engage in training games, he is very smart and quick to pick up new things.
Like Aspen, he’s fond of the park’s rowboat and likes to take rides when the photographers are out on the lake. He’s relatively calm regarding tours and visitors. He’s frequently the wolf standing by the fence checking out the new people. He also often escorts tours around the enclosure edge.
Khewa and her brother, Niko, came to Wolf Park in 2017 from Wolf Mountain to be raised alongside the pups born at the park that year. Khewa is easily distinguished from the other pups by her light grey fur, short tail and short muzzle. She darkened and grew into her features as she matured, although she still has the shortest tail and a slight dip to her muzzle.
Khewa quickly became known as the ‘mud puppy’. She loved water, mud, muck and mire. If there was something stinky which could be rolled up, she was sure to find it. She loved to greet her human friends with enthusiastic kisses, usually leaving a trail of muddy paw prints on them.
Heading toward her first birthday, Khewa was still the most uncertain with crowds, and a little nervous of visitors, but also eager to greet as soon as she worked up the bravery. Still closest to her brother Niko, she also developed an affectionate relationship with her foster sister, Sparrow. The staff hopes they’ll stay friends into adulthood.
Born May 6, 2013
Hunter is a female gray fox born on May 6, 2013. She and her siblings were brought to Wolf Park as newborns. They were raised by a multitude of human friends who helped them get used to the strange world around them.
True to her name, Hunter is the best hunter of the grey foxes. She was the first to catch a bug as a kit, and later the first to catch a mouse. She’s been known to catch snakes and other small animals while on walks around the park.
One of Hunter’s favorite activities is scavenger hunts provided by the summer children’s camps. The campers will hide the foxes’ food all over the enclosure, then the foxes will be released to find it all. Hunter will rush through, eat all the ‘good stuff’, then go back through and bury the not-so-good items so that she can eat them later.
Hunter is shy of people but very willing to meet and work with people who have food for her. She doesn’t like to be petted, but she does like to climb on shoulders, lick noses and dig in human ears. She is so willing to work with new trainers that a six-year-old sponsor once taught her to walk on a swinging bridge!
Joker is a silver-phase red fox — who was found under a porch. It was clear from his behavior (he was not afraid of humans) that he was not a wild fox. He was clearly an escaped (or abandoned) pet fox.
He was sent to a wildlife rehabilitator who began looking for a permanent home for him. Since Wolf Park’s red fox, Scarlette, was alone, the park was happy to find a nice male to share her enclosure. In April of 2015, Joker came to live with Scarlette. The two became fast friends and have lived together happily ever since.
Joker is a calm and confident fox who puts up with all of Scarlette’s crazy with little trouble. He likes to play pranks. Once, he deliberately pushed Scarlette into the pond when the ice was just barely frozen.
Although not as social as Scarlette, Joker is still willing to meet and greet new friends. He likes his chin scratched and he’s happy to pose on shoulders for photos.
Born May 12, 2014
Scarlette was brought to Wolf Park in December of 2014 from the Lakeside Nature Center. They had taken possession of her after she was confiscated from her original owner who did not have the proper permits to possess a fox. Scarlette was very comfortable with humans and dogs. She was a wonderful fit for Wolf Park.
In the spring of 2015, Wolf Park located a male fox to be her companion. Scarlette loved Joker at first sight. He took a little longer to warm up to her but they became a faithfully mated pair and have been devoted to one another ever since.
Scarlette is a bossy little lady who believes everything should belong to her and be given immediately. She screams whenever there is something she wants or if she doesn’t get her way. Her favorite foods include eggs, cheese and hotdogs. She likes things with sugar in them but she only gets it on very rare occasions. She likes to take walks around the park and jump on the trampoline. She loves to watch the wolves, whom she thinks might be giant, friendly foxes.
Scarlette is wonderful with new people. She’s never met a stranger. She’ll climb all over anyone in hopes of treats.
OUR OTHER SPECIES
Wolf park has been home to a small herd of bison since 1982. Our original bison came to us from the Columbia Park Zoo and we’ve continued to grow the herd since then.
For many years the bison took part in our weekly wolf-bison demonstrations which gave the public a chance to see how healthy animals are easily capable of driving off wolves. Since the completion of that study, the bison have given dog trainers a chance to train a very unique species, and have become very popular with our children’s programs.
Every summer Wolf Park brings in guinea pigs from the local rescue to assist children’s camps in learning about safe animal handling, training, and more. In 2018, in the rescue also sent a rabbit. Sodapop was so wonderful, that the park decided to make him a permanent addition.
During the summer, Sodapop teaches kids about respecting animals’ boundaries and basic training. During the winter, he helps out in the office. He’s great at greeting UPS and FexEx drivers, but his phone answering skills are still limited.
Sodapop is a laid back rabbit who likes to be where the action is. He’s an escape expert, and keeps the interns on their toes keeping track of him. He prefers spinach to carrots, to everyone’s surprise.