Adult wolves at the Oakland Zoo.

Steven Gotz

Unexpected Visitors Have Been Flying In To Be Near Oakland Zoo's Wolves

Matt Bigler
May 22, 2019 - 2:13 pm

OAKLAND — The gray wolves at the Oakland Zoo are hard to see these days as the pack is caring for four wolf pups that were born in captivity earlier this month. But zoo visitors are sure to see another native California species that was never meant to be part of the exhibit — ravens. 

"Ravens and wolves go together and that goes very far back in history," said Colleen Kinzley, the zoo's director of animal care, conservation and research. 

Native Americans told stories about ravens leading wolves to carrion, so they too could feast on the opened carcass. Something similar is happening at the California Trail exhibit.

"The ravens are right there waiting for that meal to come down," said Kinzley. "Any scraps that are available, they're going to get right in there."

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However, the problem is that the boardwalk above the wolf enclosure requires frequent cleanings to remove the ravens' droppings that speckle the walkway. 

Kinzley prefers to focus on the educational opportunities created by the ravens' arrival. 

"The ravens do allow us a good opportunity to talk about the ecosystem and the creatures that are naturally a part of that."