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GrizzerGrizzer, a Great Plains subspecies of the gray wolf, was born on May 5, 2004. He is a littermate to Maya and has matured into a strong and big (120+ lb)… adult male. He was removed from the Exhibit Pack in March 2011 after the tragic loss of his littermate, Maya. It was determined that Grizzer had been losing confidence in his status and without the dominance of his littermate, he couldn’t compete with the younger packmates. Grizzer is retired. During the summer of 2011, an additional habitat was created to allow Grizzer more space and to interact with the other wolves through the fences. 

Grizzer is included in the weekly wolf logs which includes a photo, notes on behavior or physical health. The Center also posts a weekly YouTube video that highlights the activity of each wolf during the week. 

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.

If you are interested in sponsoring Grizzer, please click here.



Recent Logs for Grizzer:

Grizzer – Grinning

July 2nd, 2018

Grizzer is doing well, despite some hot humid days and a bit of stability issues during these heat spells, he has a great appetite, has been spending more time with staff and has allowed us to remove most of his undercoat. He’s displaying a behavior called “Grinning” in this post’s photo.   Based on our interpretation of events, Grinning is displayed when wolves are satisfied with circumstances.  What circumstances cause Grizzer to grin?  The mist from the Exhibit Pack is one circumstance.  A full belly of food and a sleeping Luna would be two others that come to mind.  The main issue we are watching is his response to stimuli, both sound and visual.  His hearing seems to be great, but we do seem him struggle with visual distance, especially recognizing individuals at the fence. He recognizes the voices of the wolf care staff and whines to greet them, but if staff come in quiet and don’t vocalize, Grizzer is uncertain of their identity.  Grizzer weighed in at 112 pounds, so we increased his diet a bit.  We want to make sure he enters the winter between 115 – 120 pounds, giving him a buffer for calorie use on those cold winter nights.  Although, Grizzer has been using the heated building on several occasions during recent thunderstorms, so he may be our first retiree to sleep indoors at night.  We do have to be a bit cautious that an indoor, outdoor lifestyle doesn’t reduce his undercoat development, nor impact his social relationships with his pack mate or maybe pack mates depending upon Aidan’s transition.


Weight: 112

Grizzer - What's with the tongue?

Grizzer – Is He Saying What I Think He’s Saying?

June 7th, 2018

If you read Luna’s log, you saw Luna displaying a “Nose-to-Nose” greeting to Grizzer, with Grizzer’s ears indicating a bit of uncertainly towards the interaction.  In Grizzer’s photo, his tongue is sticking out, either in the middle of a licking motion or making a commentary about Luna’s interaction.  As wolf care staff, we observer and interpret the behaviors, but there’s no definitive way to know what they are thinking and ultimately, what they are saying.  But spending 14 years with Grizzer, we have witnessed a few facial expressions over the years. 

Weight: 115 lb

Grizzer resting in the shade near the mist zone

Luna And Grizzer Improvements

May 21st, 2018

The Working for Wolves crew did an amazing job this weekend, cleaning, raking and giving the Exhibit Pack a fresh look.  Crew members shoveled and hauled nearly half a dump truck load of small rock to fix a significant digging issue under the east side pond.  Without this work, the concrete was at risk of cracking;  Losing the ponds functionality which would have been a critical loss for older wolves in the warm summer months.  Crew members also installed a new, more powerful misting system for the Exhibit that mists the Pack Holding area as well. Protective panels were installed, stained and concrete pads were positioned to protect our medical pens and reduce some of the drainage and ice conditions we experienced last winter.  The most noticeable projects on the webcam were in the pack holding area where crews mortared some protective rock to cover the sharp edges of the concrete, provide better visual appeal for photography and gave Grizzer a wider ramp off the back of the pack holding area den.  To allow time for the concrete to dry, a protective fence panel was constructed to keep Luna and Grizzer away from the wet concrete;  You may have viewed the panel on the Pack Holding Area webcam.    The wolves were very calm despite all the activity in the yard.  They especially like the part where we barbecue brats in the wolf yard. 

Grizzer, shedding pattern

Grizzer – Shedding Pattern

May 16th, 2018

Grizzer is doing great.  We celebrated his 14th birthday with a webinar and a pork roast.  He enjoyed both, especially since Luna took a break on the East Side Retirement area so Grizzer could enjoy his pork roast in peace.  I don’t want to give you the idea that Grizzer wants to be away from Luna.  After Luna’s medical exam and subsequent recovery in the Wolf Care Center, Grizzer spent a lot of time whining at the gate until Luna returned.  The issue is that Luna gets quite food possessive, so to eat a pork roast, it takes some time and it requires no distractions. It was a nice birthday gift. 

This spring season has had some unusual changes in weather.  We had snow and ice late in the  year, but when things finally turned to spring, we seemed to miss a transition and went right into the high 70’s and low 80’s for daytime temperatures.   While humans might find this weather welcoming, wolves with full winter coats are a bit overheated.  We are always concerned with heat and older animals.  You may have witnessed (possibly on the webcams) wolf care staff brushing the wolves during the morning wolf checks.   Grizzer has an extremely thick undercoat and is not shedding other than on his legs.  He usually ends up with a shed from below pattern, where he loses his leg, tail and stomach undercoat and keeps a large ruff of hair around his neck.  His sister Maya had  similar shedding pattern only in addition to the neck ruff, she kept a ruff a long hair on her back legs that made her look like she was wearing a tutu.  

Weight: 114.6

Grizzer starting his birthday week

Grizzer – Looking Good

April 29th, 2018

Grizzer will be 14-years old on Saturday May 5th and he seems to be in better shape after this winter than he has for the past several winters.  We weighed him last week and he is still maintaining about 114 pounds of body weight which is a good value for him.   There have been a lot of variables that may have contributed to his status. Certainly, the “Working for Wolves” crews construction of the roof  between the East Side Retirement significantly reduced ice build up in an area that he frequently travels.  The protective area also allowed for additional cover hay beds out of the wind, but still receiving direct sunlight.  Luna’s been far more socially interacting and less obsessive since the change in feeding protocols; this allows Grizzer more interactions and more exercise with less stress.  In the last year, he has been taking daily Turmeric gel caps.  In a recent ad for Tumeric, the benefits included “A Stronger Heart, Sharper Brain, Pain-Free Joints and Youthful Energy” … could Grizzer be Tumeric success story?  We don’t have any way to measure that other than noticing that Grizzer looks good, but I guess that’s all we need and all we can hope for at the age of 14.  If you would like to honor Grizzer on his birthday, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund. This fund goes directly to the continued care of current and future wolf pack mates.  Select Wolf Care under the designation tab; Feel free to write a note in the comment if you want a special treat for Grizzer. 

Weight: 114.6