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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.

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Recent Logs for Grizzer:

Grizzer – Taking A Break

November 9th, 2018

Since Aidan’s retirement, Grizzer has been getting a lot of activity.  He joins Aidan when he responds to Luna’s frequent invite chase maneuvers, which usually result in a chase through all three retirement enclosures and a climb on and leap off the three concrete densites.  There is a strong correlation between Aidan’s location and Grizzer’s location within the retirement areas.  These two males share space for the morning meds and feedings, they sleep near each other and if one goes to the back habitat, the other is sure to follow.  Grizzer continues to show his confidence around Aidan.  On November 6th, the wolf care staff noted that Aidan did a squat urination after Grizzer did an RLU (Raised Leg Urination).   This lack of overmark is an indication that Aidan is accepting of Grizzer’s mark and by default Grizzer’s status.  Aidan will do RLU’s especially if there’s food involved, but the association of marking behavior between wolves is interesting to watch.  There is something rewarding to watch a wolf near the end of his longevity have the status and enjoyment of his youth, 

Grizzer alert as ever

Grizzer – Spring In His Step

August 9th, 2018

When I began planning for Aidan’s retirement last winter, I was most concerned about how it would affect Grizzer’s life.  At 14 1/2 years of age, I didn’t want to alter his routine or make him intimidated by change. I wasn’t sure I was even going to put Aidan with Grizzer initially, but then, I saw them through at the shared fenceline as Aidan began using the Pack Holding Area.  Grizzer let out a series of social whines towards Aidan and Aidan reciprocated the greeting.  On July 28th, three days after Aidan made the move out of the Exhibit Pack, he was reuniting an old social alliance with Grizzer.  Grizzer initiated the nose-to-nose greeting with Aidan and in less than an hour was allowing staff to feed both wolves a bowl full of chicken with no competition.  The trust between Aidan and Grizzer was apparent and not only did they socially interact, it appeared that Grizzer retained a higher status over Aidan that modeled their relationship in 2011.  Grizzer has been actively displaying RLU behaviors, scraping the ground to spread his scent and taking carries a bit of a high sweep at the base of his tail as he walks throughout the enclosures.  We even witnessed Grizzer helping Aidan in a short Luna confrontation.  In the last few weeks, Grizzer has certainly perked up, with a social grin, he could pass for 12 years of age. 

Grizzer – Growing A Winter Coat

July 24th, 2018

It seems like just yesterday we were brushing the wolves and now Grizzer is growing his winter undercoat.  In Minnesota, this could be a definite advantage as weather can change quickly.  Last week, we had a few days of cooler weather and something in the wolves changed.  Grizzer certainly became more alert to Luna’s presence in the enclosure, especially during feeding time.  Grizzer continues to show strength in his back right leg with a demonstrations of “Raised Leg Urination” or RLU’s that have a lift height well above his back, all supported by his back right leg.  We are definitely pleased with his mobility and every day is cherished at this age.

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