BIO ~ Shasta was a spayed female Arctic wolf. She was one of the few rescues born at Wild Spirit on May 8th, 2007. Her pregnant mother, Sierra, and her father Yukon were given to us when a breeder retired. She joined the Big Pack in the Sky on July 20th, 2019.
PERSONALITY ~ Shasta was never socialized and so remained naturally very shy. Over the years, she had become braver, and would come right down to the fenceline to see who was by her habitat. She would sniff at caretakers hands, but would often give a warning nip to remind them to keep their distance.
LIKES ~ Shasta loved her brother, Teton, trying to steal things from her caretaker, and enrichment bones. She liked to hide bones all over her habitat so her caretaker couldn’t take them away druing clean-up.
DISLIKES ~ Shasta disliked too much attention from humans. She didn’t like being touched or pursued by people. She also didn’t like when she got from a nap to see tour guests and the guide didn’t have treats to reward her with.
FUN FACTS ~ It was very hard to tell Shasta and her brother apart. Her eyes were a bit closer together and the black around her eyes was darker.
SHASTA’S STORY ~ After we rescued the litter of Arctic pups from the breeder where they’d been born, we returned to bring the breeding pair, Sierra, and Yukon, and an older brother, Axel, to safety at Wild Spirit, too. We took all three to the vet to have them spayed and neutered, and when the vet looked at Sierra he discovered something very surprising – she was already pregnant! So only the boys were fixed and we returned home to wait for Sierra to give birth.
Before her life at Wild Spirit began, every litter of puppies Sierra had was removed from her within days of giving birth. If wolf puppies are to have any chance of being social with humans, they need to be pulled from their parents before their eyes are even open and cared for entirely by people. Even then, you can’t guarantee that they’ll be comfortable around people. This time, because Sierra was in our sanctuary and no longer part of a breeding organization, we let her raise her puppies herself. She had 5 puppies in the litter, including Teton, Shasta, Flurry, Frost, and Trinity.
After some time, Frost and Flurry began showing a marked interest in people and wandering away from their mother to investigate the humans that were around them, too. Due to their interest and aptitude, we began to train them to work as ambassadors, which meant spending a lot more time with people. The others, Teton included, showed no interest in spending more time with people, so they were never actively socialized with people.
After giving birth, Sierra began to dig a den in their habitat. While doing so, she uncovered a fungus called Cryptococcus. Typically, this fungus is not a huge threat for canines, but for a mother who recently gave birth and young pups, it can be very threatening. Unfortunately, Sierra and Trinity were so affected that they ended up passing away due to the infection. Teton experienced some nerve damage in his front leg but otherwise recovered fully. Fortunately, Shasta recovered without any issue.
Now, Teton and Shasta remain as a pair in the habitat in which they were born. Although they are extremely comfortable with life at the sanctuary, given that it’s all they’ve ever know, these two retain their wild spirit just like all our other animals. They are not very social with people, but they are not truly afraid of us, either. Although they are safe at WSWS and have lived here their whole lives, we know that like all wild animals, Teton and Shasta would prefer to be running free outside the confines of a fence.