The meerkat

Una (April 2015) Photo: Walter Vorbeck Image 1 of 9 Open lightbox

Gender Female
Date of birth 07.04.2012
Origin Minnesota Wildlife Connection
siblings Chitto
Pack Nanuk Pack;
together with Nanuk

When Una was still a puppy, she always sat boldly upright on the hill in the puppy enclosure when one of her handraisers was walking by, with ears laid back and a grin on her face. A resemblance to the watchful desert dwellers could not be denied, hence she got the nickname ‘meerkat’.

Una …

... appearance

Una is our smallest and lightest wolf. With little more than 30 kg she is a real lightweight compared to her conspecifics. Because of her delicate figure and her long legs she is quite easy to recognize. Her rather grayish coloration and her habit to hold her nose crooked is her trademark.

... with conspecifics

After Una’s puppyhood, she was integrated in a pack with Nanuk, Yukon and Wamblee. Since the small Wamblee was soon overwhelmed by the impetuous Yukon, the pack quickly consisted of only three members, which went quite well for a while. Una could cope well with Yukon’s often rough play, but then the hormones had started to become spanner in the works. In Una’s third year we tried to restore the original pack, since Wamblee had to be alone for quite a while after the death of his sister. Una used this circumstance to make her interest in the alpha position clear. Of course, this didn’t have a positive influence on the relationship between her and Yukon, so we decided to separate the two ladies before any serious fighting might occur. Since that time, Nanuk and Una form a harmonious pack, while Yukon came to Wamblee.
Yukon is still an eyesore for Una and every time she sees her in the distance or smells her presence she really gets excited. It seems as if she is frightened that Yukon might take away her place as alpha female, which she currently occupies in Nanuk’s pack. 

... at learning and in interaction with us

Una is one of our shyest wolves and it depends extremely on her mood if she wants to work or come near a group of people during a pack visit. Sometimes she even feels safer around complete strangers than around people she knows a bit. And she only shows deeper trust towards people that have raised her. This fact doesn’t help her to become the favorite of the students, since she often is everything but cooperative and enthusiastic during experiments.
However, the few people who receive her trust can do almost everything with her: taking blood or skin samples or giving injections are no problem, as long she gets meat for her cooperation. Like her brother, she has her own mind and can be extremely stubborn, but these are just the things one has to cope with when working with wolves. 

... as puppy

Una arrived together with her brother Chitto and the two siblings Amarok and Tala at the age of 4 weeks at the WSC. American policy forced a change of plans and therefore the foursome stayed the first two weeks of human care with a coworker in the United States.
But shortly after the exhausting trip the newcomers started to explore their new environment and all the new odors of the puppy enclosure. Their two favorite things were definitely hunting mice, and rumble play with their ‘pack siblings‘.
As close as Una was with her pack, was as close she was with her human raiser. She was cuddling as closely as possible during sleeping times and defended her spot also against intruders.