Female gray wolf Renner, 3, came to the Detroit Zoo from the Wildlife Science  Center in Stacy, Minnesota, in September.

Female gray wolf Renner, 3, came to the Detroit Zoo from the Wildlife Science Center in Stacy, Minnesota, in September.

Photo provided by the Detroit Zoo


Detroit Zoo welcomes new female wolf named Renner

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 8, 2019

 Renner, left, and Kaska, right, walk along the meadow portion of their habitat at the Detroit Zoo. Zoo officials say the pair are getting along very well.

Renner, left, and Kaska, right, walk along the meadow portion of their habitat at the Detroit Zoo. Zoo officials say the pair are getting along very well.

Photo provided by the Detroit Zoo

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — Zoo visitors will see a furry new face in the 2-acre Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness habitat at the Detroit Zoo.

Renner, a 3-year-old female gray wolf, joined 9-year-old male Kaskapahtew, known as Kaska, last month. She formerly resided in the Wildlife Science Center in Stacy, Minnesota.

Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said the center did not have plans to relocate Renner, but upon hearing that the Detroit Zoo was searching for a new mate for Kaska, officials agreed.

“The Detroit Zoo is renowned for its animal care and welfare practices and has a beautiful and spacious habitat for wolves,” Peggy Callahan, founder and executive director of the Wildlife Science Center, said in a prepared statement. “We were delighted to respond to the request for help in finding a suitable companion for Kaska.”

In 2015, Kaska came to the Detroit Zoo from the Minnesota Zoo with his former mate Waziyata, known as Wazi, who died in June. Carter said Wazi was under veterinary care for cardiac problems, and she unexpectedly died while under anesthesia at the age of 11.

He said zoo staff adored Wazi and were heartbroken to lose her, but she lived beyond the lifespan of a wild wolf.

“We knew (immediately that we wanted another mate for Kaska) because wolves are very social,” Carter said. “We worked as quickly as we could when Wazi died unexpectedly. … Family is a critical part of the fabric of wolf society and is important to their well-being.”

While Renner and Wazi were both hand-reared, Renner had the benefit of early socialization with other wolves, so she displays more natural behavior for a wolf, Carter said.

“(Wazi) had no fear of people, which isn’t normal for a wolf,” he said. “We may not see (Renner) hanging out with people like Wazi did.”

He said that Renner and Kaska are getting along very well and that Renner is enjoying exploring her new home. The habitat includes grassy hills and meadows, native trees, a stream and pond, dens, and elevated rock outcroppings.

The zoo’s hope, Carter said, is that the pair will start a family in the coming year. Gray wolves’ breeding season is late winter — they give birth to four to six pups after a two-month gestation period, according to the zoo.

Carter said that if the pair do successfully breed, the wolf pups would remain with their parents for as long as the wolves will tolerate it.

“The family will tell us if somebody needs to leave,” he said. “It’s totally driven by them.”

On Sunday, Oct. 20, the Detroit Zoological Society will celebrate National Wolf Awareness Week with zookeeper talks and hands-on activities at the Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness, located in the southwest corner of the zoo. Guests will learn more about Kaska and Renner, as well as what the DZS is doing to protect and conserve wolves and their wild habitats.

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

For more information, visit www.detroitzoo.org or call (248) 541-5717.

Advertisement