Paignton Zoo’s South American Maned Wolves are rearing a litter of three pups!
This is the first litter for the pair. The male, Tolock, arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2016 from Katowice Zoo in Poland, where he was born in 2015. Female Milla was born in December 2012 and arrived in the UK a year later from Nordens Ark Zoo in Sweden.
It has been seven years since Paignton Zoo has bred Maned Wolves. They are part of the carefully managed European Endangered species Programme.
Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, "Judging by the parents’ change in behavior, the pups were born on 23rd February. Being carnivores, we left them undisturbed to get on with it. The pups were not seen by the keepers for four weeks. Our Maned Wolves are quite elusive, but with patience can usually be seen mid-afternoon. There will be a much better chance of seeing one now there are five and especially when the pups become more mobile!”
The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Adults stand almost 1 meter (3 feet) tall at the shoulder and weigh 20 to 25 kg. (50 to 55 lb).
They catch small prey such as rodents, hares and birds, but fruit forms a large part of their diet.
The Maned Wolf is shy and flees when alarmed, and their mane can be raised to display aggression. You are more likely to smell them than see them, as their urine, which they use to communicate, has a very distinctive smell.
Although often described as "a fox on stilts", due to their coloration, it is not closely related to any other canid and may be a survivor from the Pleistocene fauna of large South American mammals.
Native to parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, the Maned Wolf is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, thanks largely to the effects of man: habitat loss, poaching, road kill and domestic dogs (which can attack the wolves and spread diseases).