Cheeky devil

Apache Image 1 of 3 Open lightbox

Gender Male
Date of birth 19.5.09
Origin Zoo Basel
siblings Cherokee
Pack The unforgotten;
together with Cherokee, Ela, Kay, Tatonga, Tayanita & Wapi

On Sunday, 27th of January 2013 we had to take leave of Apache. For almost four years he was a faithful, funny, and adventurous member of the animal group at the Wolf Science Center. We are missing you!

Apache …

... appearance

He was the smallest and lightest adult male wolf living at the WSC. He was borne completely black with a white spot on his chest. With increasing age, however, he got more and more grey. His fur colour gave him a pretty appearance. His movements were gracile and really swift.

... with conspecifics

Apache was from the beginning on the smallest male and he remained the smallest one. But if you think that he had some disadvantages because of this, then you are wrong! During feeding he often worked together with Cherokee and they often got the biggest and best pieces of the food. Sometimes we were able to observe, that one of the two was eating and the other was defending the food against the other pack members. Apache had especially distinct diplomatic abilities. When Nanuk and Geronimo started to quest the older wolves' rank position and when they started to kick out Shima and Aragorn from the pack Apache was the only one who was welcome on both sides. Probably the main reason for this was that he was never mobbing another individual!

Apache lived in the “black pack” until April 2012 where he was in general a quite low ranked wolf. However, in January 2012 he took his chance and got higher ranked than Aragorn, but only for a short time. The pack put him back on the lowest position. His disease, epilepsy, forced us to take him out of the pack.

Tatonga, our small, gentile she-wolf, was perfect for Apache! Tatonga and Apache, both with a delicate posture, a sensitive character and both show no mobbing at all. It was love at second sight! When we let them together both had first their hair standing up and stiff legs but not even 20 seconds later their ear position and their eyes changed, they had the typical face when wolves and dogs are in love. Instead of fighting they started to play. Till the end, they were our perfect couple! 

... at learning and in interaction with us

Apache was smart and learned really fast. When he was younger, he showed a strong preference for his care takers. When he got 5 months of age and he was integrated into the black pack he got more and more open also towards strangers. From then on he was a really pleasant company on “paid walks” always willing for nice interactions with the guests. However, with increasing age and with outbreak of his illness the work in direct contact got more difficult again. At one point only handraisers could work in direct contact with him. Due to the medication he had difficulties to control himself, especially around food. However, what was remarkable, he always signalled when he had problems with his self-control. If humans reacted accordingly it was possible to work with him without problems.

... with strangers


At the age of 5 months he got more and more open towards unfamiliar humans. Also during pack visits he was quite curious and fine with interaction with the strangers. He liked novel objects, was approaching them curious. On walks he often found objects he could take with him for a while. 


... as puppy

Apache was the smallest of the puppies, including his brother. But he nonetheless always knew how to defend himself and his needs. We often laughed about Apache’s behaviour when we were feeding the puppies. He would try to cover the food bowl with his body whilst growling loudly and snapping at the other puppies. The bigger littermates would look quizzically at Apache and then went without further discussion to another food bowl. Only his brother Cherokee could keep up with him ;-).

Like the other puppies, Apache loved to run around and play in the puppy enclosure, be it in the grass or with the water in the two little ponds we made for them. But sometimes there was the slight feeling that he felt “different” than the others, he was the only black puppy we had in that year. But by the age of 5 months this changed! By this time the puppies joined our older black wolves; Kaspar, Shima, and Aragorn. Perhaps his fur colour was a reason for him to “feel different”, (hmm, well probably not…) but regardless Apache changed a lot after joining the older wolves. He became more and more self-secure, he showed less fear in the presence of unfamiliar people and he grew increasingly affectionate towards those with which he was already familiar.