Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Wolf at the Library Door

Our library had a special visitor yesterday. He hasn't been here for a few years, and since it is a popular program, I was fortunate to get Sierra in to see Atka the Arctic wolf.

Atka the Arctic Wolf

Atka was visiting with some friends from the Wolf Conservation Center. From their brochure: The center was founded to promote wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment and our role in protecting them. The Wolf Conservation Center participates in the Species Survival Plan and Recovery Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf.

Right now, the center is home to 28 wolves, but they will be getting some more soon, including three red wolves. They already have one red wolf, so this addition will give them two mating pairs. We also saw pictures of some of their successful Mexican gray wolves. A pack was released into the wild last year (in New Mexico? I forget. I should have taken notes!)

Since most of their wolves are being bred to return to the wild, they are not given a lot of human contact. That is why it is nice to have Atka. He is a teaching wolf. He was raised with a lot of human contact, so he's pretty laid back around people. As an ambassador wolf, Atka has traveled quite a bit, teaching people about wolves and busting some myths about the species.

Atka relaxing

Some facts about wolves that we learned:
-A pack is made up of an alpha pair and their children.
-Wolves communicate through marking, body language and howling.
-Wild wolves live from 6 to 8 years.
-Wolves are very shy and avoid human contact.
-Gray wolves come in many colors. Arctic wolves are a species of gray wolf.

Atka checks out the library

We also learned that Atka loves water fountains. He took full advantage of a low water fountain in the multi-purpose room.

Sierra and I loved the wolf program. If you want to find out more about the center, they have a website:

Atka face


Laughing Stars said...

Gorgeous! My dad is involved with a group in Eastern N.C. that recently re-introduced the red wolf to that area -- it had been extinct in the wild.

Inner Elder said...

I remember a wonderful exhibit on wolves at the Amer.Museum of Natural History. Do you remember it, Tina? Wish they'd do it again; it gave all the biological info plus myths about wolves in cultures, fables, stories, etc. Also I guess Mexican wolves are really endangered. There was an exhibit at the Bronx Zoo for a few years and suddenly, they were gone! Love, Mom

~*~The Family~*~ said...

What a cool program! You were so fortunate to get to see him.

Vicki said...


Atka reminds me of a wolf that belonged to a policeman I used to live down the road from. His wolf was trained as a police dog and he said it was one of the smartest partners he ever had.

flmom said...

Simply gorgeous! My oldest would have loved to attend that program for sure (wolves rank right up there with big cats for him). We have red wolves at our nearby zoo, but the layout of their enclosure makes glimpes of them quite difficult.

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