Lab expansion sought for International Wolf Center

EXPLAINING THE NEED for the International Wolf Center’s lab expansion last Saturday were Wolf Curator Lori Schmidt and Veterinarian Dr. Chip Hanson.

Article and photo by Pam Roberts

The International Wolf Center hosted a fund raiser March 21 for expansion of the Wolf Lab before the 2016 pups arrive. The Wolf Lab expansion would enable more freedom to move the wolves and the puppies from the outside into the lab kennels, a more protected space. The fund raiser featured music, silent auction, kids games and special speakers: Lori Schmidt, Wolf Curator, and Dr. Chip Hanson who has been the veterinarian of choice since his beginnings in Ely. Schmidt and Hanson teamed up to share some of their experiences over 26 years of working with wolves as they move forward to this next phase. The event was well attended and hopefully by 2016 the new lab area will be even more conducive to animal management.
Wolves are not bred at the IWC for several reasons. Open since 1989 that would have created a lot of captive wolves. Wolves born in captivity stay in captivity 10 to 15 years because there is no release program.
When the center wants new pups they are acquired from a license facility and that process is started a year in advance. They look at veterinary records, parent health and all kinds of things and also need a back up plan in case something doesn’t work out.
Tentatively they are looking at some Arctic stock. They haven’t had Arctic wolves since July of 2014 when they lost their 14 year old Arctic wolf Shadow. It’s been a while since they’ve had three subspecies. And that’s another reason for not breeding, so the species don’t mix as they would not intermix in the wild.