Hello everyone, thanks for joining us for the October issue of the Monthly Howl. This is usually an incredibly busy month that leaves many of us burnt out and exhausted. However, this year we decided to take it a little easy on ourselves and simplify our yearly October process somewhat. Nevertheless, that does not mean that we were not busy! Wolfdog Quinn made an appearance at the locally hosted yearly event called the Fall Festival. This month we hosted our yearly Howl-o-ween event which had a great turn out. We have been dealing with some intense conflict with two of our coyote’s rescues as their breeding season approaches. We also had members of Navajo Tech University visit us once again to work on Flickers enclosure.
This month we presented ourselves at a very interesting and fun yearly event, which takes place locally and his hosted by the Ancient Way restaurant. It is called the “Fall Festival” and whoever goes on behalf of the sanctuary usually has nothing but positive things to say about the experience. Like the name implies, it is a celebration and honoring of the coming season. It is a lively event with hundreds of people and dozens of vendors in participation. There is everything from local produce, to artisan soap and even native jewelry for sale. This event usually calls for us to take an ambassador with us, and this year our wolfdog puppy Quinn took on the responsibility. There is usually food for sale at these events, a fact which was apparently not lost on Quinn at all! In turns out that his whole day was fueled by the desire to get a hold of Ancient Way’s signature pulled pork and brisket, which I can personally attest to being absolutely delicious. The sanctuaries participation in this event was shorter than usual because Leyton and Quinn had a scheduled encounter with a guest on property that same day. Quinn performed amazingly at both the jobs we asked him to do and at the moment he proving himself to be an excellent ambassador.
Halloween is usually our biggest event, showcasing a broad range of activities, ranging from pumpkin carving contest to massive haunted houses. Preparation for this event is often excruciatingly demanding, and so this year, due to a variety of factors we decided to keep it simple. Even though we did a lot less in terms of the overall scheme of things, the response was excellent and we actually had lots of newcomers who had never been here before join us. It was inspiring and motivating to see so many novel faces coming out this far into the wilderness to share the Howl-o-ween experience with us. Those who join us on that day get to experience our night time “fire ceremony” where the executive director himself performs a beautiful ritual saying goodbye to all the animals that have departed us that year. As usual, the ceremony was thoroughly touching and a tear jerker. Every animal is remembered and celebrated with stories about their life and how they came to be with us. There is something majestic and elemental about giving the ashes of our rescues back to the earth with reverence and appreciation for the time they spent with us.
Just like last month, Paris Martin contracted students from Navajo Tech University to come out and stay at the sanctuary in order to assist us with some big and important projects. This time around their focus was on helping us prep the Flicker enclosure. If you have been following us for any length of time, chances are you have caught a whiff of the Flicker ordeal and the challenges we have been facing in actually keeping her contained in one of our regular sized enclosures. Ideas had to be brainstormed, and plans manufactured first, and now we are one the last stage of executing our solution. NTU has actually been instrumental to this process and has taken on the bulk of the work, and we could not be more grateful for their assistance because many of us are tired of seeing flicker live alone in the little habitat that she is in. Hopefully, by next month this long multi-thousand dollar project will be complete and flicker will be content living with her companion Rayne.
Even though Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary puts a large premium on rescuing wolves and wolf dogs, we by no means restrict our open spaces to only those two species, and actually give sanctuary to a variety of wild canines, including dingoes, New Guinea singing dogs, foxes and coyotes. We are experts in what it takes to care for wolves and wolf dogs, but are still learning when it comes to coyotes. We have aquired some important lessons in the last few months. Currently the sanctuary houses four coyotes separated into two pairs of two, and each pair contains one male and female. One of the pairs, which consist of Yuni and Maine has unfortunately suffered a break up and will now have to be permanently separated. The break up has occurred because tensions between these coyotes had been steadily increasing to the point of injury and attack over the last two months.
Upon seeing these dynamics we started consulting coyote experts and sanctuaries; our research paid off and we now understand why their dynamic ultimately shifted from peaceful to hostel in such a short amount of time. It is apparently related to the coyote social structure and how that impacts their behaviors and needs during mating season. Unlike wolves which live in large packs, where only the alpha pair are allowed to mate during breeding season, coyotes appear to live in pairs, or small family units. They generally only enter into pack structures for short amounts of time.
Hence, during mating season most eligible adults get to breed, and more importantly they bond with one another through breeding. Without the ability to mate with one another, the effect is that tensions rise and there is nowhere to ease or discharge them other than in conflict. In captivity this issue is remedied by the proper use of reproductive surgical methods, which in the coyote means giving the male a vasectomy, but leaving both animals sexually intact so that they can mate without breeding. In this situation the male has been neutered and the female has been spayed. It is an unfortunate circumstance, but measures are currently underway to set up a situation for them that can accommodate their need for separation, but without isolation. For an update, check out the up and coming issues of the Monthly Howl!
We thank you so much for joining us and wanting to stay on top of the current happenings. If you already support us, thank howls of gratitude to your generous spirit and if you would like to start, consider supporting us in our mission in one way or another!