New pack of yearling wolves at Woodland Park Zoo

Apr 8, 2011

The howls of a new yearling wolf pack can be heard at the Woodland Park Zoo this spring. The 4 female gray wolves were born at the New York State Zoo and arrived in Seattle last fall. Until now, they've been secluded from public view, getting used to their new surroundings in the Northern Trail exhibit.

The Zoo's Deanna Ramirez says the best way to observe the young wolves is to stand quietly and watch the natural behaviors of the wolf pack:

“Like their wild counterparts, our pack lives in a hierarchical society. Guests will be able to pick out the alpha female by watching her behavior. She is playful but also the most relaxed, so you will see her at the top of the exhibit while the most submissive wolf spends much of her time at the lower part of the exhibit."   

Wolves have lived at the Woodland Park Zoo for more than 60 years. A 16 year old female is all that's left of the previous generation; since a young pack won't accept an elderly wolf, she's been moved to a retirement enclosure that isn't on public display. The Zoo's Dr. Jennifer Pramuk says the senior wolf is adjusting well to retirement, "and likes lying on a rock overlooking lower Woodland Park."

The gray wolf, also known as the timber wolf, is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.