Nissa the timber wolf enjoys meeting new people during wolf walks at Discovery Wildlife Park. (Photo contributed)

Nissa the timber wolf enjoys meeting new people during wolf walks at Discovery Wildlife Park. (Photo contributed)

Nissa the wolf charms visitors

Wolf Walks at Discovery Wildlife Park

Nissa the timber wolf is always ready to welcome strangers as one of her pack at Discovery Wildlife Park.

That’s why the wolf walk at the Innisfail attraction, which allows small groups of people to take a guided stroll with the five-year-old wolf, was started five years ago.

“The whole reason we do this walk is because she’s so enthusiastic. She lives for them. She wants to do them. She truly adores people,” said Serena Bos, Discovery’s head zookeeper and animal trainer.

She said Nissa’s sister Lupe acts more like a typical wolf and avoids strangers.

“If you’re not part of her pack, a staff member, Lupe is really timid. She doesn’t want to meet strangers, and Nissa thinks people are just the coolest thing ever.”

The first thing Nissa will do, which people find odd, is urinate when she meets someone new.

“That’s a form of communication. She’s sharing her pheromones, and that’s what one wolf would do to another.”

The wolves arrived at Discovery when they were only 10 days old, after their pack was shot in the Edmonton area. Originally, they were taken to a wildlife rehabilitation centre, but were unable to be returned to the wild.

“They would have been euthanized if we weren’t able to take them. We’re the forever, last-option home.”

Discovery Wildlife Park is dedicated to providing a safe home for animals where they can receive training and enrichment to lead quality lives, as well as educating the public about wildlife.

When the wolves were six weeks old, the pair was introduced to the public. Right from the start, Nissa was eager to meet visitors. A few months later, she began participating in short wolf walks.


Monkeys shelter kitten at Discovery Wildlife Park

Copper the raccoon has new home at Discovery Wildlife Park

Now weighing about 36 kilograms, Nissa is a majestic sight, especially in winter, Bos said.

“Wolves are spectacular to see in the winter, because they have a huge, huge winter coat.

“We have tons of repeat customers. People who come, and have the opportunity to actually meet her and go on the walk, truly fall in love with her.

“There is no where else in Alberta where you can do this. It’s very unique.”

She said timber wolves are native to central Alberta, but the elusive carnivores typically don’t venture into urban areas.

While Nissa may seem dog-like, she maintains her natural, wolf behaviours, such as catching small rodents during walks when the opportunity arises.

Wolf walks must be booked in advance.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo).
Woman ‘beyond frustrated’ by Red Deer College program’s volunteer requirements

Teddie Briggs says she was “beyond frustrated” after learning Red Deer College’s… Continue reading

Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts, of Red Deer are trying to spread the word about a new innovation for wheelchairs that they think will be especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Brayden Watts)
Red Deer company lands exclusive patent rights to wheelchair extension

By some small miracle, Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts stumbled upon a… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta has identified 1,828 new cases and 15 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the provincial death toll to 590. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Drumheller RCMP lay charge for unlawfully distributing cannabis

A joint forces investigation involving the AGLC investigation team partnered with Drumheller… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Homeowners Cora and Alec Dion pose in the basement of their home in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 8, 2020. More than seven months ago, the Dions were forced to flee Fort McMurray for the second time in four years as a spring flood threatened their home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Halinda
Fort McMurray residents still cleaning, considering options after spring flooding

‘It’s worse than just having water, because it’s ice mixed in with the water’

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Anand says as soon as she knows when the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Canadian soil, she will share that information with the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Negotiating contracts for vaccines in development needed flexibility: Anand

Health Canada officials are days, maybe even hours, away from approving the COVID-19 vaccine

Harley Hay
Hay’s Daze: Not used to seeing giraffe with a mask

My bad. Now there’s an expression that used to stick in my… Continue reading

Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota rises in the House of Commons, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Ottawa. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Speaker Rota reflects on first year presiding over unprecedented virtual Parliament

‘It’s not what I signed up for but it is what it is’

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $17 million Lotto Max draw

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $17 million jackpot… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes' Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan (3) and Mexico's Jacqueline Ovalle (11) battle for the ball during a CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying soccer match Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Edinburg, Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Delcia Lopez
Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris celebrates his touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first half of the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Running back Andrew Harris, who was instrumental in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ending their Grey Cup drought in 2019, tops the CFL team's list of potential free agents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

Most Read