Of all the times I’ve been to see Stevie, however, far and away the most memorable was the time represented by this month’s photo. That browse she has just taken a bite of is being offered to her by yours truly.
Dora was an amazing first-time Mom. Six is quite a large litter for an Arctic wolf and there were times when she looked so impossibly thin I didn’t know how she was going to survive until the cubs weaned. But survive she did, and a good portion of that credit goes to her sister, Auntie Vera.
The best guess anyone has is that the cubs were born on May 10, judging from when Dora was last seen (May 6) and when she reappeared for some food (May 11). And while everyone headed for the clearly dug-out den at the northwest corner of the enclosure –a fence was set up to keep giddy visitors a little farther from the “den” – my first glimpse of the new Mama (pictured here at right) came in an entirely different area of the domain.
The very first glimpse I got of the babies was actually a fluke. The brand-new Wildlife Health Centre was being prepared to be open to the public on the Canada Day weekend last summer, and before that happened there were preview days – first for Staff and Volunteers, then two days for Members leading into the weekend.
No matter what kind of day/week/month/lifetime I am having, I can always rely on these wonderful mountain goats to provide me at least a few moments of respite, and I can always find a place around their perimeter to be completely alone with the animals for a while.
I love bears. I have for as long as I can remember – at least as far back as Balloo in The Jungle Book, and the magnificent title character in the old Gentle Ben television series in the ’60s.