For the first time in its history, Zoo Liberec in the Czech Republic welcomed a litter of Maned Wolf pups to their institution. After a two month gestation, mother Samantha gave birth to four pups back on January 10th. However, after two of the original four litter-mates failed to survive, zoo officials waited to ensure that the second two pups were in good health before announcing the birth to the public.
Although the newborns weighed only around 16 ounces at birth, this small size won't last long. The pair will be grow rapidly until they reach their full grown size of between 45 and 75 pounds at one year of age. The two curious pups have begun to venture out of their indoor den and into the publicly visible exhibit. With a little patience, visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the adventurous duo.
The Maned Wolf, the tallest of any wild canid, is native to South America. Due to its reddish-brown coloration, the Maned Wolf is often mistakenly thought to be related to the red fox. In fact, the Maned Wolf is not closely related to any living canid and is classified as its own genus, Chrysocyon. Making its home in the open and semi-open grasslands of the eastern portion of central South America, the Manned Wolf feasts on a omnivorous diet including small to medium sized prey such as rodents and fish, and a variety vegetable matter. The Manned Wolf population currently has a modest number of individuals. Despite this however, primarily due to habitat loss, the species is listed as "near threatened" by the IUCN.
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