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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:

Hanging With Aidan

July 2nd, 2018

Aidan’s been on a course of antibiotics for the last week treating an unidentified stomach issue, causing him to have difficulties keeping any food down for a few days, the second issue was related to a possible reoccurring urinary tract infection that he had earlier this year.  The first few days of antibiotics started with some inject-able doses due to the inability to keep the food and medication in his stomach.  By the 3rd day, we saw a noticeable improvement, now we just need to follow up on the full treatment.  The issue is that Aidan is very wary of the smell of any medication in his morning meatball, but antibiotics make him particularly suspicious.  Staff are very creative to make sure he gets what he needs.  There is a challenge with getting the urine sample to assess the status of his treatment.  Since Aidan has lost his status as the pack leader, he doesn’t display his typical raised leg urination or RLU response.   By displaying an RLU, a wolf is broadcasting their scent to anyone in the area; when in a low ranking position, psychologically, it’s probably best to not broadcast.  So, Aidan does a squat urination, dropping as low to the ground as 10-year old hips allow.  This is a difficult posture for capturing a urine sample, but again staff are creative trying to use baking pans and various scents to provide a marking platform and catch a sample.  Aidan does have a support network; Usually while resting, he is joined by Grayson and or Denali.  In the log photo, it’s both.

Aidan is showing his shed line...

Aidan – Brushing The Heat And Stress Away

June 7th, 2018

In this week’s photo, you see the wall of Aidan hair as the front shoulders have been brushed out, but the back half of his body still has some dense undercoat.  Staff have focused most of the brushing efforts on Aidan in the Exhibit Pack.  Why Aidan, we definitely want to reduce stress and the side effect of overheating.  The other reason staff focus on Aidan is that he is very amiable to getting brushed, often resting in front of wolf care staff who help block the other wolves from interacting.  This gives us a great opportunity to feel for any other abnormal growths.  As this photo shows his front leg incision which had been prominent all winter has diminished and hair is returning on his incision site from the November, mass cell tumor removal.  Both he and Denali are being treated with daily antihistamines and it appears to be effective in reducing the size and occurrence of these growths.  Time will tell if this is a long-term method.  This is our first experience with a mass cell growth, although Lakota had several issues with the papilloma virus that had a cauliflowerlike appearance to the growths.  As animal’s age, we need to be very aware of each individual’s physical condition as we assess and identify, lumps, bumps and tumors and try to decipher the cause, but more importantly the treatment. Aidan is in the pack, but at this point, he isn’t leading the pack, but his presence does have an influence, especially upon Grayson and Denali.  Even Boltz came to rest with Aidan when Boltz was having a particularly hard day with things that bug him, especially the particularly pesky one named Axel. 

Aidan in a threat display towards Boltz

Aidan- Moments Of Control

May 16th, 2018

As the summer season arrives, wolf dynamics will naturally change.  Warm weather and seasonal hormones make for calmer moments, which is good for Aidan.  The testing behavior over the winter is subsiding and there seems to be some definitive alliances that remain from the winter dynamics. In this post’s photo, you will see Grayson respond with submissive ears while Aidan’s directs a threat display towards Boltz. Grayson still defers to Aidan even though Aidan’s status has diminished as pack leader.  Aidan has moments when he is in control, but most are in defense of food, not necessarily coordinated with rank order.  At this point, the pack is interacting moment by moment with differing responses based on the level of stimuli.  Wolf care staff, food resources and summer visitors all have an influence on interactions.  In a recent data sheet entry, wolf care staff noted that “Grayson has been staying close to Aidan all day, resting within 2-3 feet of him”.  On another day, staff noted that “Aidan, Grayson and Boltz slept in the main den together for 30 minutes.”  Calm moments are increasing and we are seeing it in Aidan’s overall attitude; He is more interactive and much more likely to be found rallying with the pack.  As far as an overall health update, the new prescription of a 25 mg tablet of Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine seems to be impacting Aidan’s mast cell growths.  Not only has the size of the growth diminished, hair has completely grown over the suture site from last November’s surgery and he shows no licking or irritation at the spot of the growth. 

Aidan and Grayson shared the Slate Den on the first rain of the season

Aidan – Sharing Spaces

April 29th, 2018

In the last few postings, we have noted Aidan gaining more confidence in moving around the wooded area of the enclosure.  This has been a struggle for him as he isolated himself from the pack for a period of time.  There are several staff postings of Aidan and Grayson sharing spaces.  Most often it’s at top of the main densite, but in our first rain event of the 2018 spring season, Grayson and Aidan shared the tight quarters of the Slate Den.  He’s taking some anti-histamines which has reduced the inflammation of his mast cell growth, he has spent less time licking the site, resulting in a dryer, smaller area of irritation.  

We were able to capture this prancing behavior from Aidan on the surveillance video.

Aidan-Prancing With The Pack (Some Of The Pack?)

April 15th, 2018

We have moments when Aidan shows some strong pack cohesiveness with Denali, Grayson and even at times Axel, but as soon as Boltz arrives, he reverts back to intimidation and retreat mode.  There are definite correlations to the temperatures, and as you can see by this week’s photo, the snow gets everyone excited.  Aidan is prancing with Denali as the younger wolves are running along the fenceline.  I posted this video clip on last week’s Youtube. Aidan had a vet check last week and there were discussions about the growth that has been irritating his front leg.  At this point, we are measuring and monitoring the growth size and growth rate as well as the irritation factor.  The Veterinarian prescribed an antihistamine, since mast cell’s can be a result of a body’s response to allergens and inflammation.  Aidan has had a history of auto-immune disorders dating back to 2011 with his first diagnosis of discoid lupus, so this has been an ongoing management issue for staff.  

As far as the testing of Aidan’s status, this seems to be diminishing, although the colder than average April has kept things a bit tense a big longer than usual.  It seems like the arctics are having face-off behaviors with Boltz which makes us think there might be some rank establishment among the three younger wolves.  Rank isn’t something that’s settled in a day, it is a combination of behavioral occurrences that build over time and are influenced by hormones and certainly cooler ambient temperatures.  To say that the pack is testing, does not infer that testing interactions are the sole interactions of the pack.  Even on a daily basis, the wolves can go from testing dominance to a “nose to nose” greetings and end up resting in social groups with the same individuals that had earlier experienced conflict.  Wolves don’t hold a grudge or want to get even with each other. Aidan was the wolf that lead the social bonding with the arctic pups on their introduction into the pack and despite the testing, Aidan and Grayson still have a strong bond; On Saturday, the staff reported all wolves but Boltz were resting on the pump housing together.  That’s not a very large space for 4 large wolves, so they must have been feeling compatible.  We look for evidence in every interaction, so we have the ability to understand wolf intent.