A litter of eight red wolf pups has begun to explore their enclosure at Wolf Haven International near Tenino.
“They’re doing good,” said Erik Wilber, an animal care and education specialist at the nonprofit sanctuary. “They all seem to be bouncing around and acting like puppies.”
The pups are expected to begin howling in a couple of weeks. Right now, they mostly “squeak,” Wolf Haven officials posted on the nonprofit’s Facebook page.
The puppies are nursing, but have begun eating other food, including grain-free kibble. On Monday, the nonprofit posted a video of the pups eating and playing tug-a-war with a turkey neck.
The pups join four siblings, who were born last spring, and their parents in three enclosures at the sanctuary. One of the wolves from last year’s litter died, said Kim Young, a spokeswoman for Wolf Haven.
Mom is 5-year-old F1945 (called “Nash”) and dad is 11-year-old M1482 (called “Tala”).
“We’re happy at Wolf Haven that we have the space available and the means to manage a multi-generational family,” Wilber said.
The family is considered to be on loan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan program.
So far, Wolf Haven staff have monitored the litter by remote cameras. The pups will have their first human interaction at the end of the month when they get a medical checkup and vaccines.
“They have to get a series of inoculations, and they get weighed and just examined,” Young said.
The family’s enclosures aren’t part of the sanctuary’s public route, but people are invited to follow their activities through Wolf Haven’s Facebook and YouTube pages.