PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– For the first time in years, Wildlife Prarie Park has gotten four wolf pups. August, Sumac, Cypress, and Luna got their first look at their new enclosure after a long trip from Central Minnesota. The new animals are part of the You Love Our Park Campaign to celebrate the park’s 45-year anniversary.

“It’s been a year-long journey,” said CEO Roberta English. “We first had to move to fundraise to build a retirement den for our aging wolf, Mackenzie, then we had to make repairs and updates to our enclosure so it could handle a pack again.”

English said finding wolves to bring to the park was also a challenge. The new pack was finally secured from a private breeder. The wolves were born in May. The three males are dark, and they are brothers. The female is light, and she is from another litter.

“These are Arctic tundra wolves, a subspecies of the North American grey wolf,” said Board Vice Chair and Veterinarian Dr. Dave Knaak, who spent a year looking for wolves. “They appear healthy, no known deformities, and they should weigh between 150 and 180 pounds when they are full grown.”

Big wolves mean a bigger food bill for the park. Wolves are carnivores and they eat three to five pounds of meat per day, supplemented by dog Kibble. English says the park will continue to seek monetary donations for food and they will be soliciting more donations of deer from the public.

The wolf pack is just the beginning of new animals coming to the park in 2023. The park is also raising money to rebuild the cougar enclosure and fencing to prepare for three new cougars coming in the spring.