HOWL Colorado

Oregon Zoo to celebrate wolf awareness week

[large thumbnail url=”public-invited-to-watch-wolves-feast-at-oregon-zoo” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”10″ day=”06″] [thumbnail icon url=”public-invited-to-watch-wolves-feast-at-oregon-zoo” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”10″ day=”06″] To celebrate the start of National Wolf Awareness Week, the zoo is inviting visitors to a keeper talk and wolf enrichment session Sunday, Oct. 17, at 11:30 a.m. The event is not for the faint of heart, however — the wolves’ enrichment item will be a carcass, a special treat for the predatory pack animals.

“Wolf Awareness Week aims to dispel misconceptions about wolves and educate people about wolves’ important role in healthy ecosystems,” said Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman. “At the zoo’s awareness week kickoff, we’ll talk about these issues while the wolves enjoy their carcass. It should be quite a sight.”

The Oregon Zoo has one male wolf and two female wolves. Kenai, the male, moved to the zoo last fall from the New York State Zoo, and females Yazhi and Cheyenne were both acquired from the Minnesota Zoo in 2008.

Right around the time Yazhi and Cheyenne arrived at their new home, wildlife officials confirmed the presence of a wild wolf pack in northeastern Oregon. It is believed that these wolves — two adults and two pups — were the first wild wolves to have lived in Oregon since the 1940s.

“Not only is it exciting to have wolves returning to our state after so many years, but it’s essential,” said Dr. David Shepherdson, zoo conservation biologist. “Wolves and other large predators play pivotal roles in our delicate ecosystems. It is important that we learn the roles of all animals, especially those in the Pacific Northwest.”

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are now 21 wolves in two reproducing wolf packs in Oregon, which the organization refers to as the Wenaha pack and Imnaha pack.

After several months of deliberation and public outreach, ODFW has adopted an update to the state’s wolf conservation and management plan. Oregon’s first wolf management plan was adopted in 2005 and called for a review of the plan every five years. According to ODFW, the update is intended to make the plan more practical and improve the management of wolf-livestock conflicts.

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