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In June 2004, our pack of male Timber Wolves, Canis lupis, came to Grouse Mountain. They were being retired from the movie industry, facing the possibility of being euthanized and needed a natural habitat to call home. The wolves quickly settled in to a comfortable life here at Grouse Mountain. They are visited daily by school children learning about wolf ecology, behavior and conservation and over the years they have helped us educate millions of visitors to Grouse Mountain that the term ‘big bad wolf’ is a misnomer. 

 Our oldest wolf Beta will be 15 years old this April. If we take the standard ‘1 dog to 7 human years’ conversion, that’s over 100 years old! According to David Mech, a well known wolf biologist, the average lifespan for refuge wolves is 12 years and for wild wolves it is 8-10 years.

In the past year or so we’ve noticed that Beta has been showing signs of stiff joints due to rheumatism and as such we have had him on anti-inflammatory medications. Last summer we did full veterinary medical evaluations and he was in excellent health for his age. Despite the best care, however, old age catches up with all of us.

For the past couple weeks Beta has been having further issues with stiff joints and is now limping and having difficulties navigating around a habitat designed to be as wild as possible. Since he is also in with two other energetic wolves it is also somewhat of a challenge to, given his movement issues, make sure he gets his fair share of the food and his proper medications.

Therefore, in order to ensure he can be fully evaluated and given the care he needs to assist him with enjoying a good quality of life, we have decided to move him to a comfortable veterinarian-monitored centre off the mountain. Here we can do a more thorough check-up, make sure he gets all the food he needs, give him close hands on monitoring and determine the best way to help him out.

I wanted to write a post about it because I know our wolves have many passionate followers and people who visit them daily. Please rest assured that Beta is in good hands and we are doing everything we can for him. I will keep everyone updated via this blog –Thanks!

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