Stories tagged Ely

Aug
06
2008

I'm Denali: Wolf pup Denali cools off with a swim in the International Wolf Center's pond.
I'm Denali: Wolf pup Denali cools off with a swim in the International Wolf Center's pond.Courtesy International Wolf Center Staff
This week marked the formal introduction of the International Wolf Center’s two newest inhabitants: wolf pups Aidan and Denali. The pups, who were born at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake in April and were transferred to Ely’s International Wolf Center in May, were integrated into the center’s resident wolf pack on Monday.

Aidan and Denali were each a shade under four pounds at the time of their birth. In the three months since, they’ve grown into the ballpark of being around 40 pounds.

What exactly do wolf pups do to have fun? Here are some links to cool video of Aidan and Denali going about daily life at the center:

I'm Aiden: Wolf pup Aiden, flanked by adult wolf Maya, checks out the view of his new home from on top of the wolf den entrance.
I'm Aiden: Wolf pup Aiden, flanked by adult wolf Maya, checks out the view of his new home from on top of the wolf den entrance.Courtesy Awen Briem, International Wolf Center
Denali digging

Denali being coaxed out of the den

Aidan being submissive and being checked out by adults

Aidan hunting for something in a tub of water

Denali and Aidan wrestling

Now that they’re with the resident pack, they’re showing more common wolf behaviors, including jaw sparring, tug of war, food possession (caching), and squashes, a behavior identified by one pup laying on top of the other pup to gain possessions or for dominance. Aidan has shown considerable interest in the exhibit pack in recent days.

The introductions actually went pretty smoothly, taking only about 45 minutes. Wolf Center personnel report that most wolf packs are very caring towards wolf pups, sharing feeding and pup-sitting duties and indulging in play.

"Visitors and media are invited to watch the fascinating transformation of Aidan and Denali from pups to predators and to observe the pack members' uncertain social relationships unfold over the next several months," says Lori Schmidt, curator of the center. Visitors can travel to the center in Ely or watch wolf cam, video and photo updates on the center’s website.

Visitors to the Science Museum of Minnesota's Mississippi River Gallery haven't had the usual rite of spring of seeing peregrine falcon chicks on gallery's television monitor. Bummer, right? But here's the good news. In a few months they'll be able to see two wolf pups. With no nesting falcons available on television cameras this spring, the gallery's television monitor has been tuned into the International Wolf Center in Ely. The center has just received two wolf pups. Those pups will go on public display when they grow to about 35 pounds, which should be in August. The pups are growing about a half pound a day.

Dec
19
2007

Snooze and lose?: A famous black bear (not this one pictured, however) in northern Minnesota may be sorry it chose a local cabin as a place to hibernate this winter. A controversy is now brewing as to if the bear is a nuisance bear and needs to be killed.
Snooze and lose?: A famous black bear (not this one pictured, however) in northern Minnesota may be sorry it chose a local cabin as a place to hibernate this winter. A controversy is now brewing as to if the bear is a nuisance bear and needs to be killed.Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Here’s a doosey of a wildlife dilemma. A well-known bear in the Ely, Minn., area is currently hibernating in an open space under a lake cabin with her two cubs. The cabin owner doesn’t want Solo, so named because she’s missing one of her ears (here’s a link to her picture), under the cabin through the winter. State wildlife and local government authorities are now struggling over what to do.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is planning to follow its policies and kill the bear and relocate the cubs to another area. That’s because Solo has become much to comfortable with humans, particularly the Ely-area residents who have put out food for her over the years.

Township government officials report that they’ve had numerous complaints from people that Solo has gotten way too close to them over the years because of her lack of fear of people. People are sure it’s her because of the missing ear. Authorities also point out that there are about 25 other bears living in the area, lessening the impact of losing one problem bear from the area’s wildlife population.

But several bear activists in the area are irate about the plans. They contend that their feeding of wild bears actually makes them less of a risk to people, decreasing their need or desire to go on to people’s property to scavenge for food.

The issue heated up earlier this fall when the bear activists learned that Solo was hibernating under the cabin. They wanted to place a webcam there to monitor her hibernation activities through the winter. The cabin owner didn’t like that idea, much less the thought of a bear and two cubs staying under the cabin for the winter.

The activists are hoping that other measures can be taken to make like with Solo more manageable, like giving residents pepper spray to scare her away, using electric fences to protect gardens and other property and increasing public awareness of keeping food and cooking utensils in bear-proof locations.

But the wildlife officials contend that Solo’s people-friendly habits are deeply engraned now and can’t be undone. Her cubs, however, still are young enough to learn more natural ways if they’re relocated.

What do you think should be done about this bear problem? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.