HEMMINGFORD — Playing with wolves.
Among the newest additions to Parc Safari in Hemmingford, Quebec, are four Arctic wolf pups born May 6.
Parc Safari Zooologist Sophie Dumont, who is in charge of the primates and carnivores, provided access to the pups prior to their reintroduction to the park’s Arctic wolf population.
She said she is in with the wolves so often she has become considered part of the pack. Even the cubs are making that connection, she said.
Prior to entrance to their enclosure, Dumont provided some guidelines. She said to let them come to you at their own pace, and avoid petting them on the face.
The wolf cubs are extremely curious, and quickly came to investigate as we neared their territory. One even ventured into the space between the two gates as we entered, rather than waiting for us to enter the inner space.
”As you can see, they are very social,” Dumont said as the other pups soon scampered over to investigate the newcomers.
The pups were soon yipping playfully and sniffing their visitors, rubbing against their legs and even rolling over to let people rub their bellies. They seemed perfectly at ease when Dumont picked them up to hold them close.
Playful nips are just a normal part of their social interactions, she said. The light chewing seemed much like that of a teething infant.
There are three males, named Marrak, Unnuk and Ajaja; and one female, Sijja. The names are Inuit, and translate to Mud, Evening, Baby and Shore, respectively.
Sijja is maturing faster and is already more wary of human interaction, which Dumont said is typical. Throughout the visit, she hovered around the outer edge of the group while watching with a wary eye.
Sijja’s fur is whiter than that of her brothers. She is also recognizable by her reticence to interact with people as much, as she hung out on the outer areas of the group while her brothers playfully nipped at visitors and even tugged at shoelaces.