Five members of the original Sawtooth Pack have been joined with several more wolves to form a new pack now known as the “Wolves of the Nez Perce.” Originally these first five wolves were under the care of Jim Dutcher, photographer/filmmaker who founded the Wolf Education and Research Center (WERC). They were located in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, from which the name is derived. Each wolf is very individual with a distinct personality and position within the pack.
The alpha (leader) of the pack is Kamots which means “to go free”. He is the largest in the pack and most intelligent. It is his responsibility for determining the harmony within the pack. As the leader he is first to eat, to greet a newcomer and to discipline other members if necessary. This is usually accomplished with a growl and show of teeth. He is also usually first to lead a howl.
The beta, or second raking member of the pack is called Matsi which means “sweet and brave”. He is the lightest colored male in the pack, with a pale golden face which is unusual as most wolves have a gray face. He has taken on the role as caretaker for pups in the pack.
Matsi’s brother is Amani, which means “to speak the truth”, he is a high ranking member of the pack. He is friendly and playful with the higher ranking wolves, but he is considered very strict with lower ranking members of the pack. He is very interested in the pups and frequently brings them food; he can be seen watching over them. Like the leader Kamots he has a deep gray coat and as with all wolves his eyes are yellow.
Motomo means “he who goes first” holds a mid-ranked position in the pack. He is a brother to Amani and Matsi. His coloring is black with deep yellow eyes. He is a loner and often hunts alone. Considered friendly with other members of the pack, he can be very playful and curious.
The lowest ranking wolf or omega, in the pack is Kamots’ brother, Lokota, which means “peaceful person”. He is large and gray and looks a lot like his brother. He is very shy and a loner. He is wary in the wilderness and often the first to notice anything strange and give the first howl. His howl is very piercing and distinctive.
These original five wolves were joined with three more to form the new Nez Perce pack. The three new wolves are Chemuk or “black”, Weyekin “spirit guide”, and Wahotts “howls a lot”.
Chemuk is the alpha female is smaller than some of the other wolves. She has a black coat with gray highlights on her face and legs. Her naturally yellow eyes have a greenish glint to them, with a slender face and black ears making her face appear even more slim. Only one pair of animals in a pack mate and produce pups. Although she is three years younger than the leader, Kamots, it is she whom he chose to breed with and produce pups. She is friendly, but very shy. Despite her shyness she has a dominant role in a pack conflict. With an agile, quick, vertical helicopter leap she is able to catch squirrels and chipmunks in the branches over her head.
Weyekin is the same age as Chemuk, but has different coloring and shading to her coat which is a golden hue with light gray highlights. In the sunlight her fur takes on a reddish tint and she reminds one of a very large fox. Although she is larger than Chemuk, she is much more submissive and seems to want to avoid any conflict. Usually seen on the edge of the pack, she has a regal bearing, and sense of play that keeps her involved with the pack one moment and then she disappears into the forest.
Wahotts is the brother of Weyekin, but the coloring is entirely different. He is a large and long-legged gray wolf. He has the same yellow eyes, but they are slightly slanted which gives his beautiful face the look of hidden mysteries. He is wary and stays on the edge of the pack rarely getting involved in playful activities. He is watchful and very attentive, especially to the pups. He can be counted on to help keep the pups from wandering into areas where they could be in trouble. He is the wolf that the pups come to for play, and seems to have unlimited patience with them.
The Native American tribe of Nez Perce generously provided land needed for the wolves, and are now in partnership with the Wolf Education and Research Center to maintain and protect these endangered animals. Their new home is now in Winchester, Idaho. The Nez Perce Indian’s have a cultural as well as spiritual connection to the wolf and were pleased to have a role in the preservation of these wonderful animals in their ancestral home. Recently a visitor’s center has been added to help the public understand the wolf’s important role in the natural ecosystem of the land. Their will also be workshops, programs and field trips to aid in the preservation of this very intelligent endangered species.
All of the Photographics on the Nez Perce pages were taken By Filmmaker / Founder of WERF Jim Dutcher and are being used with Premision.
To sponcer a Wolf of the Nez Perce Pack Please call (301) 887-4050