New enclosure at Assiniboine Park gives zoo's wolves something to howl about

A pack of grey wolves now has a permanent place to call home at the Winnipeg zoo.
A grey wolf at the Winnipeg zoo's new enclosure, which will be home to the five-wolf pack. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)

Winnipeggers will be in for a howling good time during their next trip to the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The zoo's wolf pack now has a permanent place to call home, thanks to a new enclosure designed just for them.

The pack, which has been at the zoo since 2014, consists of a solo female and four male grey wolves.

They were relocated to their new enclosure after recently moving out of the Journey to Churchill exhibit. 

"They are exploring. They are very active. But they're also able to relax and settle," Johanna Soto, the zoo's curator, said.

"They look like they're having a really good time."

Comforts of home

Gambit, Bear, Slate, Jack and Onyx are all between ages eight and nine. Gambit leads the pack. Three of the five wolves are related.

The carnivorous mammals are fed a raw meat product that looks like ground beef, Soto said.

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      Families can find the new wolf habitat in the zoo's boreal forest section.

      Full trees and green grass surrounding a digging hole, a water feature and heated rocks — for when it's frigid — make up the enclosed environment where the wolves can roam.

      Pack up

      The wolves first made the trip to the city as part of the Journey to Churchill exhibit in early summer 2014 as a late temporary addition to the attraction.

      "They were a natural fit," Soto said. 

      "Since then, they've been so popular with our visitors we decided to build them a permanent home here."

      The zoo plans to prepare the portion of the Journey to Churchill exhibit where the wolves lived to house polar bears, which are expected to be in that area by mid-summer.

      The wolf exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, just in time for Fathers Day. Dads will receive 25 per cent off regular admission during the exhibit's opening weekend.


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