The mating season is almost over and the wolves are tired of all their mating attempts. Even Una is not running up to the fence anymore when we walk our dogs past her enclosure.
Also, a new love couple has formed here at the WSC! Two of our beloved wolves who sadly lost their mates last year have found new love again in each other. Our beautiful female wolf Tala (who is often joining the visitors on their wolf walks) and the hunk of the park Geronimo went on a few dates. And while walking through the forest together, with the trainers trailing behind them to keep a careful watch, they fell in love!
I have heard from the trainers that it was definitely not love at first sight though. They told me that, since Tala was without any packmates, they had already tried to set the two of them up half a year ago. Tala immediately got a crush on Geronimo, but these feelings were not mutual. Now, during the mating season, it was the perfect timing to try to play cupid again. And boy did that work well!
Geronimo and Tala have been inseparable ever since. However, even though Geronimo’s packmate Wamblee was very excited to meet Tala, when the fence between them suddenly disappeared he became very shy. He is, like many humans, not a big fan of change. And it can take him quite a while to get used to new things. When he is nervous or stressed, he goes into his so-called “safety corner” in the enclosure and waits to see what happens. And so, this is what happened when Tala first entered their enclosure. But apparently, the rule “bros before hoes” cannot be found in the handbook for wolves. Because Geronimo is not giving up his girl just because his best friend does not approve.
Honestly, Wamblee has been on my mind a lot these last weeks and I think this holds true for all of the trainers here at the WSC. We all frequently check up on him and see how he is adapting to the new situation in his pack. We hope that he can soon see the positives of this new arrangement, like having an extra playmate! He has already made quite some big steps (also literal steps out of his safety corner) and Tala has been nothing but kind and patient with him and is even playing with him.
I believe this case also shows how truly difficult it can be to create good pack formations with captive wolves. In the wild, wolf packs mainly exist of family members and only once in a while new blood is allowed into the pack. When the young wolves grow up to be around one or two years of age, they often leave their family to start their own pack somewhere else. In captivity, this is not an option. When a wolf, like Wamblee for example, wants to start off on his own he does not have the choice to leave. However, in the end, the top priority here at the WSC is of course the welfare of all animals involved, which is why we are giving him time to get used to the new situation before the trainers form a decision about the future of Tala and Geronimo’s relationship.