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In Memory of Woha
Woha was born into the Wolf Howl Animal Preserve pack (WHAP) in the spring of 2007. Her parents were Wa-ta-chee and Ohoyo. She was one of four pups, three females and one male. Woha was healthy and developed quickly to become the dominant female of the pup pack. Those of us closely socializing the pack saw it quite early on. She was quick to challenge the other females in the pack especially, Chito.
When she was returned to the main pack after socialization, she was quickly put in her place by her Mother, Ohoyo. As she settled in to pack life, we would still see her challenging Chito. I once observed her toss Chito into the fence with such force that the whole fence buckled. Chito was twice the size of Woha so I was pretty amazed. It wasn’t Chito’s place to discipline her as Ohoyo was the dominant female of the pack. Ohoyo was pretty rough on all the pups. Woha was her biggest threat and we observed her being pretty hard on her. However, Woha persisted to challenge her Sister and eventually her Mother.
During pair bonding season when Woha was 3 years old and had reached maturity, she led a coup against her Mother. She convinced her Sisters to join in. It became so bad that we were concerned for Ohoyo’s safety and decided to try temporarily removing Woha from the pack. Once put into the isolation area, things calmed down in the main enclosure and no Wolf was challenging another. We kept her isolated for a few weeks and during that time, didn’t notice any fence fighting. We then decided to put her back in with the pack before it was too late to do so at all. She got a little beat up when first being reintroduced but nothing that caused us concern. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, she was once again challenging her Mother for position with her Sisters backing her up. They actually had poor Ohoyo held up in an underground den. This went on for 5 days and we decided we needed to act as we knew Ohoyo had not been able to eat at all. After several tries we removed Ohoyo from the pack permanently.
Woha quickly seized the opportunity to dominate her Sisters with the hope of becoming the high reigning female. Chito had other plans. She stood up to her. It was a hairy few months of some pretty vicious fighting between the two. Eventually, the males stepped in and decided that Chito would be a better choice. Woha was disciplined daily for months on end until she realized that she couldn’t win. She then settled in nicely to a comfortable position in the pack.
Though this may seem a little harsh, it is the way of the Wolf to better their position within the pack. If she was in the wild, she would have most likely had run off to find a mate and start her own pack.
Woha loved a good party and was always right in the middle of all the action. She also excelled at opening the Christmas presents. She was also very good at stealing things from me. I had many hats, gloves, bags of treats, snatched out of my hands from this little girl wolf. She was also a jumper. We would see her stand on her hind legs and effortlessly hop up to a tree branch to pull it down. Because of her small stature she was very agile. She easily jumped up on the den and platform from any position.
Woha had a favorite human and that was Caretaker Don. She just loved when he came into visit and would follow him around sticking her muzzle into everything he was doing. He could do no wrong by her. She was friendly to me as well but I knew if she had a choice it would be him. Also, the more dominant Wolves, Chito and Niko didn’t allow her too much time with me. They had picked me as their favorite 2 legged.
She also loved to howl with the pack. She had a very strong soprano voice. She and Chito did lots of duets. She was the last Wolf remaining in the WHAP pack. For over a month straight she did a very sad, mournful distress howl. I’m sure she was calling out for her pack wondering why she was alone. It was heartbreaking to hear. It eventually stopped and she never howled again.
It was a rough ending for Woha. She didn’t trust us humans as much without her pack behind her. We tried to comfort her best we could but it just wasn’t the same. We even tried bringing in one of the dogs to comfort her but she wanted nothing to do with him. We believe that she just lost the will to go on. The quote from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book never rang so true for us here,
“NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.