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wcs-12_21_12aidanfaceAidan and Denali were born on April 27, 2008 and joined the Exhibit Pack on August 4th, 2008. The 2008 pup introduction was very unique for the Center as it was the first time that our Exhibit pack contained three subspecies of the gray wolf and three age groups-the arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) born in 2000, Great Plains wolves (Canis lupus nubilus) born in 2004 and Rocky Mountain wolves (Canis lupus occidentalis) born in 2008. Aidan was clearly the more submissive of the two pups during the first few years of his life, and was considered a lower ranking wolf. He was often forced to submit by Maya, the dominant female of the Exhibit Pack from 2005 – 2011. After Maya’s death, Aidan took on a higher ranking role and was the leader of the pack for the 2012 and 2016 pup introductions.  Aidan continues to maintain order within the pack, often intervening when rank order issues become more intense especially during the winter season. Each wolf in the Exhibit and Retired Pack will have weekly updates posted to reveal their individual personalities and the dynamics of their respective packs, please check the individual logs for details.

For more information on our ambassador wolves, watch extended wolf videos on the International Wolf Center’s YouTube Channel or enjoy a close-up of wolf behavior on our Wolf Watch Cams.

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Recent Logs for Aidan:

Aidan - Recurring Issues Photo by Wolf Care Staff

Aidan – Recurring Issues

November 9th, 2017

Aidan, our dominant pack leader of the Exhibit Pack had a growth removed from his front left leg. Staff have been monitoring its presence for several months, but a sudden change in size prompted the vet care team to decide to remove the growth.   This was a 2nd growth removed in the last 6 months, with the first found to be a low grade mass cell tumor that had not metastasized,  This second growth was adjacent to the first growth, but not connected in the tissue.  He had not shown any clinical signs of illness and staff were diligent in developing a recovery plan to reunite the pack once Aidan gained full mobility from the anesthesia.  Surgery was completed by 8:30 am on Wednesday November 8th the pack was reunited with Aidan still showing strong leadership by 4 pm that day.  The wolf care team will be monitoring pack activity and Aidan’s progress through recovery. This was a particularly poignant surgery as colder temperatures and snowy weather can increase pack intensity, especially testing from the young arctic wolves, Grayson and Axel.  In addition, wolf care staff had a some somber moments as we remembered the loss of Lakota on November 7, 2008…the year Aidan was born. 

If you are interested in contributing to Aidan’s medical expenses or in honor of any of past, current or future ambassador wolves, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund.  On the donation page, under Destination, select the drop down menu box for Wolf Care and include any special comments or memories you would like to share in the comments section. 

Aidan on the receiving end of testing from Boltz and Axel Photogrraphed by James and Lexy Hilton

Aidan – Showing His Strength

October 12th, 2017

This week’s log was submitted by Wolf Photography Weekend Participants – Jim and Lexy Hilton

Aidan’s (center) last hurrah? Planning for his retirement party…or his last fight? The oddsmakers are busy. Bets are being placed. Will Aidan’s brother, Denali (top right), step out with Aidan or stay behind and take charge in his absence? Or will the newcomer and youngster, Axel (bottom center), with the support of his younger and more aloof brother, Grayson (top left), be next in line over Boltz (middle right) who is four years their senior and more of a lone wolf?

With the growth of the 2016 pups comes an inevitable shift of dominance within the pack. However, Aidan isn’t quite ready to call it quits. Here he is in his glory, diligently dispersing quarrels and keeping everyone in line. It is a rare moment when the dominant male can have a lengthy moment of peace.


Aidan sleeping with his cache on a morning after feeding

Aidan – Keeper Of The Cache

September 1st, 2017

As pack leaders age, they seem to develop some strategies to work smarter and not harder.  Aidan has recently displayed a strategy that avoids the troublesome task of defending food from fellow pack mates or hungry ravens; Take your food to the den and sleep in the den opening.  It appears to be successful, as he now does this for even the mid-week feedings of smaller amounts.   This can result in some challenges for wolf care making staff work harder and smarter.  Aidan still gets a post-feeding medication to aid his digestive issues and there are time he requires a den-side delivery service. 

Aidan Relaxing while Axel ponders his next move.

Aidan – A Relaxed Leader

August 2nd, 2017

This week’s logs were written by the Bio 1476 – Wolf Ethology Students:

The warmer temperatures have all the wolves a bit lethargic.  We saw very little activity from Aidan during the day, especially after their Saturday night feeding.  The wolves received an enrichment of bear hair and Aidan actively participated with the pack in investigating the hair.  We saw some play bouts between Aidan and the yearlings and he seems to be fully recovered from his surgery.  These play bouts seem to put a spring back in Aidan’s step.  Aidan continues to keep a watchful eye on all the activities in the wolf yard.  He was weighed recently and is a bit less than his previous weight, but still relatively in line with Denali. 

Weight: 137

Aidan using the cool rocks on a warm summer day

Aidan – Every Observation Is Analyzed

July 17th, 2017

Even though we had a clean removal of the mast cell tumor and test results identified it as lower risk issue, we are at a heightened level of awareness when it comes to Aidan.  For those of you who have recorded data whether it be a Wolves after Dark program, a behavior team after an introduction or an Ethology class, you have probably heard us say “…every observation is important to note, even when a wolf is sleeping…”  This is even more critical now, not only has we are going on 2 months since his tumor removal, but as we transition from age 9 to age 10, the time frame when we see changes in pack leadership.