Ely's International Wolf Center plans to expand to help care for future wolf pups

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The International Wolf Center in Ely is planning to expand in order to welcome new wolf pups to its pack next spring.

The $50,000-$65,000 expansion of the center's Wolf Lab will allow researchers to better care for the animals, the Duluth News Tribune says.

The addition will include expanding areas to care for its wolf ambassadors, including added protected lab space for its aging wolf population and areas to serve the new wolf pups expected next spring, the International Wolf Center said on Facebook.

Wolf pups need round-the-clock human socialization for the first few months, and this expanded lab will make it easier for researchers to care for them, David Kline, the development director at the center, told BringMeTheNews.

Currently, the center is fundraising for the cost of the expansion and going through necessary regulatory and other preparations, Kline said. It hopes to raise another $20,000 by mid-July.

The center, founded in 1985, doesn't breed wolves, but does have a live wolf exhibit to help with its mission to advance the survival of wolf populations around the world.

The live exhibit aims to enhance educational experiences for both visitors and for people watching through its online wolf cams and webinars.

Currently, the center has four wolf ambassadors, all of which are Great Plains wolves. And every four years it brings in captive-born wolf pups to add to its pack.

In May 2016, the center is hoping to get some Arctic pups because it hasn't had any Arctic wolves since 14-year-old Shadow died last summer, the Ely Echo reported.

The new expansion will include a den that mimics a den in the wild, and when the pups are old enough they'll move to an outdoor enclosure, adjacent to the area that holds the adult wolves, the Duluth News Tribune notes.

Construction on the expansion is expected to begin later this summer and continue through the winter, the newspaper notes.

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