Wolf

Five Playful Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den

First Wolf cub seen emerging from the den (photo credit Jackie Thomas) (4)

Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of a litter of five Eurasian Wolf cubs – the first to be born at the Park in its 47-year history.  

For the first ten days of their lives, the cubs were hidden from sight in one of the underground dens their parents, Ash and Ember, had excavated. One night, after a heavy downpour of rain, Ember took her cubs out of the birthing den and placed them above ground to stay dry. This was the first time anyone had seen the cubs. Both Ember and Ash are devoted first-time parents and keepers are delighted that the youngsters are healthy.

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Ember feeding cubs (photo Jackie Thomas)Photo Credit: Jackie Thomas (images 1-6), Cotswold Wildlife Park (images 7-15)

 

The births were unexpected for the Wolves’ care team.  Two-year old male Ash and three-year old female Ember arrived at the zoo just last year, and Wolves normally take a long time to form pair bonds. Additionally, females come into heat only once a year, between January and March.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park Jamie Craig said, “Our Wolves are a new pairing and we did not really expect a successful breeding so soon. They have settled well and at present, everything with the adults and cubs is going to plan – we are keeping our fingers crossed that it continues but we have more confidence with every day that passes. The cubs will form an important nucleus to the ‘pack’ for the coming years.”

Wolves generally pair for life. Mating takes place in late winter or early spring. After a gestation period of approximately sixty-two days, the alpha female gives birth to a litter (usually between four and six cubs). At birth, the cubs are blind and deaf and are reliant on their parents for survival. After 11 to 15 days, their eyes open. Cubs develop rapidly under the watchful eye of their mother. At five weeks, the cubs are beginning to wean off their mother’s milk but cannot immediately fend for themselves and require considerable parental care and nourishment.

The Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the largest Wolf subspecies and the largest found outside of the Americas. There are almost 40 Wolf subspecies including Arctic Wolf, Tundra Wolf, critically endangered Red Wolf, Dingo and the domestic Dog.

See more photos and learn more about Eurasian Wolves below.

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Wolf Pups Trade Places to Boost Endangered Species

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Two Mexican Gray Wolf pups born at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo swapped places with two wild-born pups in New Mexico as part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Program. 

The pups born at Brookfield Zoo are now integrated with a wild Wolf pack in New Mexico, and the wild-born pups are being reared by the zoo’s Wolves.  This process, called cross-fostering, maintains genetic diversity in the wild and zoo-dwelling populations of this endangered species.

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DrCopper_BZexam_1250 (1)1Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo

In early May, teams from Brookfield Zoo gathered up the largest male and female pups from a litter of five born at the zoo on April 22.  At just 11 days old, the pups required feedings every four hours as they were transported by plane and van to the San Mateo Wolf pack’s den in New Mexico.

As the adults in the San Mateo pack moved down the canyon, the zoo’s field team entered the den and counted eight pups in the litter. Two were selected to bring back to the Brookfield Zoo.

Scents are important to Wolves, so each of the new puppies was rolled in their new den's substrate, urine, and feces to ensure that all the pups smelled the same and they’d be accepted as members of their new families.  The zoo reports that the zoo's pack is providing excellent care to the pups, and they emerged from the den with their foster siblings in late May.

Keepers Lauren Gallucci and Racquel Ardisana explained the thrill of participating in this meaningful conservation effort. “We began our careers in animal care because we want to make a difference in wildlife education and conservation, connecting zoo guests to the larger issues in our natural world. Having the opportunity to make such a direct impact on the conservation of a species for which we care every day really hit home!”

Native to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico, Mexican Gray Wolves were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th century. By 1927, they were thought to be extirpated from New Mexico. The last wild Mexican Gray Wolves known to live in Texas were killed in 1970.

After the species was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1976, plans to reestablish the species began. By the mid-2010s, more than 100 Wolves were living in the recovery area. 

The zoo’s participation in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program shows how zoos can partner with other conservation organizations to help save species.

 


Five Adorable Arctic Wolf Pups Born at Zoo Brno

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Zoo Brno is home to five incredibly adorable Arctic Wolf pups. A male pup and four females were born just two-months-ago. The siblings can now be seen on-exhibit with their parents.

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4_Zoo Brno Arctic Wolf pupsPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno

The Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island wolf, is a subspecies of Gray Wolf native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.

The Arctic Wolf’s medium-size distinguishes it from the Northwestern Wolf, which is smaller in comparison.

They are carnivorous hunters, and by nature they help to control the populations of other animals in the region like the Musk Ox, Caribou and Arctic Hares.

Unlike other species of Wolf, the Arctic Wolf rarely comes into contact with humans and is not threatened by hunting or persecution. However, industrial development is a threat as an increasing number of mines, roads, and pipelines encroach on its territory and interrupt its food supply.

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First Litter of Wolf Pups for Wingham Wildlife Park

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On May 3rd, Wingham Wildlife Park welcomed their first ever European Wolf pups. Wolves have been part of Wingham Wildlife Park since 2013, when Dakota (the mother of this litter of pups) and her sister Arya arrived at the UK from Parc Animalier de Sainte Croix in France, to be joined later in 2015 by male, Raksha, from Bern Zoo in Switzerland.

The new litter of four pups is a first for Dakota. However, having grown up in a fairly large pack in Sainte Croix, she is used to the mechanics of what should be done and how best to keep the litter healthy and safe, as Tony Binskin, the managing director of WWP explained: “We are really pleased with how she is doing with the pups. When animals have their first ever babies it can always be a bit of a worrying time. Do they know how to socialize them? Will they know how to make their own den? Will they know to use their artificial den if they don’t? There are so many variables which can potentially go wrong!”

Jackie Binskin, Tony’s wife finished by saying, “She really is a great mum though! So far, she has done nothing wrong, and as for how the pups are faring with here… The proof’s in the pudding – they look great.”

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4_20170518_085057Photo Credits: Wingham Wildlife Park

On the morning of May 13, the den, which Dakota had dug herself using a fallen over tree and its root system as a starting point and natural barrier, was inspected from a discrete distance by management staff at Wingham Wildlife Park.

The result of this inspection was a huge relief and surprise for the staff, as Tony explained; “Today was the clearest we have seen the pups so far. Before she had spent most of her time laying down with the pups huddle under her. In that position, we always only saw 3 but had our suspicions that there might be a 4th – after seeing the odd tail or foot hanging out which didn’t quite look right! Today however we saw all 4, clear as day.”

Markus Wilder, the parks curator interjected with; “…And to top it all off they all have their eyes open already and are moving around really well. When Dakota first made her den, it was quite shallow, but we can see now why she has been excavating it more – making it deeper and steeper. Whilst she is doing really well, it’s obviously also a bit of a learning curve for her!”

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Red Wolves Have Keepers Howling With Excitement

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The Museum of Life and Science, at Durham, North Carolina, is howling with excitement!

On April 28 the Museum's 6-year-old Red Wolf gave birth to a litter of three male and three female pups. This is the first litter for the Museum, since 2002. All pups and their mother were found to be in good health by the animal care team and are currently on exhibit in the Museum's Explore the Wild exhibit.

Once a top predator throughout the southeastern United States, and one of only two apex predators native to North Carolina, the Red Wolf (Canis rufus) is classified as “Critically Endangered”, with captive and wild populations totaling less than 300 individuals.

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4_6 Pup group assessment with Sherry Samuels  Museum of Life and Science 2017Photo Credits: Museum of Life and Science

The Red Wolves living at the Museum are a part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Recovery Program as well as the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), a collaborative breeding and management program developed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to ensure the sustainability of endangered animal populations.

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Arctic Wolf Pups Born at Knuthenborg Safaripark

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The Arctic Wolf pack, at Knuthenborg Safaripark, grew by seven this spring!

The pups began emerging, a few weeks ago, from their cave at the Wolf Forest exhibit. Now, they are regularly out and about…but never too far from their attentive and protective mom.

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4_13350318_1248138508532471_6987725688581426885_oPhoto Credits: Knuthenborg Safaripark

The Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island Wolf, is a possible subspecies of Gray Wolf and is native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is a medium-sized subspecies, distinguished from the northwestern wolf by its smaller size, its whiter coloration, its narrower braincase, and larger carnassials.

Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 7 to 8 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father (called the alphas), their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders, and they track and hunt prey, choose den sites and establish the pack's territory. Wolves are known to develop strong social bonds within their packs.  

Their breeding season occurs once a year, usually in late January through March. Gestation period lasts for about 63 days, and the pups are born blind and defenseless. Litters average four to seven pups. The pack cares for the young, until they fully mature at about 10 months of age and can hunt on their own. Once grown, young wolves may disperse. Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles.

The Arctic Wolf is white throughout the year, even though it often roams forests where there is no snow. During the winter the coat is thick and warm. In spring, the winter coat molts, and during this period the wolf can look rather tatty. Wolves are shy but nevertheless courageous. Packs of wolves often attack Bison or Musk Ox, which weigh more than ten times as much as a wolf. Wolves can travel up to 200 km (124 miles) in a single day – and run at speeds of up to 65 km/h (40 mph).

The Arctic Wolf is classified as “Least Concern”, according to the IUCN, but it does face threats of endangerment. In 1997, there was a decline in the Arctic Wolf population and its prey, Musk Oxen (Ovibos moschatus) and Arctic Hares (Lepus arcticus). This was due to harmful weather conditions, during the summers, for four years.

The Arctic Wolf population also began to decrease as human populations became denser in certain areas. During the 1930s, in east Greenland, the Arctic Wolf was exterminated completely by Danish and Norwegian hunters. In 1979, they began to repopulate the area and successfully established a new population of wolves.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Pups at Brookfield Zoo

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The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) is excited to announce the birth of a litter of five Mexican Gray Wolves at Brookfield Zoo on April 25. This is the second litter born to mom, Zana (age 4), and dad, Flint (age 6).

Currently, three of the puppies are in a den, being nurtured by their pack, at the zoo’s Regenstein Wolf Woods habitat. Animal care staff anticipates they will begin to emerge from the den site and be visible to guests in a few weeks.

As part of the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, the remaining two puppies, Blaze (M1471) and Brooke (F1472), were placed in the Arizona-based Elk Horn Pack of wild wolves, which will foster them with their own litter. In pup fostering, very young pups are moved from one litter to another litter of similar age so that the receiving pack raises the pups as their own. The technique, which has proven to be successful in this species, as well as in other wildlife, shows promise to improve the genetic diversity of the wild wolf population.

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4_0016Photo Credits: Images 1-4, 5-8, 10, 11: Chicago Zoological Society / Image 9: Interagency Field Team

Following a neonatal examination, the pups, accompanied by CZS animal care staff, were flown to Arizona on April 30. There, staff met up with a team of biologists from the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team, who successfully placed the pups in a den in which the alpha female had just given birth to her own litter.

Since 2003, the Society has been a partner in this significant recovery program, which is a multi-agency collaboration between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the USDA Forest Service, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—Wildlife Services, as well as private organizations. As part of this program, adult and offspring wolves at Brookfield Zoo are potential candidates for release to the wild.

“We are extremely proud to be able to contribute to this important conservation effort for the Mexican Gray Wolf population,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for the Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. “The collaboration with USFWS and the other participating organizations is a real team effort and demonstrates the dedication of all parties to make this a successful program while also raising awareness for this highly endangered and iconic North American species.”

The Chicago Zoological Society plays a pivotal role in the recovery program, demonstrating its commitment to helping the Mexican Gray Wolf population. The first successful fostering of Mexican Gray Wolf pups occurred in the wild and included offspring born to a wolf from Brookfield Zoo, who was the alpha female of the Coronado Pack living in the Gila National Forest in western New Mexico. Sadly, she was found deceased in January 2015, but her legacy lives on with her pups.

The fostering of Blaze and Brooke is only the second time in the history of the program that pups born in professional care were placed with an established wild pack.

“The USFWS is extremely grateful to the Chicago Zoological Society. We value our partnership with the Society and other member institutions of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan managed breeding program who have contributed so much to the recovery of the species," said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s southwest regional director. “Pup fostering is just one of the management tools we can use to improve the genetic health of the wild population.”

In addition to Zana, Flint, and the puppies, the wolf pack at Brookfield Zoo also includes the pair’s four yearlings, born in 2015. The pups born last year will assist their parents in rearing the new additions by regurgitating food for them and engaging them in play, among other behaviors. In addition, the yearlings will learn important parental skills from Zana and Flint for when they have their own litters.

“As the pups grow, zoo guests will have an amazing opportunity to witness the complex social structure of the wolf pack as they interact with each other,” said Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals.

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Eight Grey Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den

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Eight grey wolf pups born on April 30 at Omaha Zoo’s Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari have emerged from their den!

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Wolf Pups (4)Photo Credit: Omaha's Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari  

Seven of the pups have grey coats, and one has a black coat.  All eight were born to Kenai, age six, and Yahzi, age seven.  This is their second litter – the pair produced five pups in 2014.

The pups are still nursing, but are starting to eat an adult carnivore diet with treats that include fish, eggs, bones, and meat.

Grey wolves, of which there are several subspecies, live in remote parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They are social animals, living in pairs with their offspring.  Grey wolves hunt in packs in well-established territories. 

There are currently 107 grey wolves in 38 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. In the last 12 months, there have been 10 births, including this litter.  Grey wolves are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Arctic Wolf Pups Explore Exhibit at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Recently, at Schönbrunn Zoo, in Vienna, five Arctic Wolf pups were seen exploring their exhibit for the first time, with mom, ‘Inja’. The pups were born April 25, in a protective, low-lying burrow in their forest exhibit enclosure. 

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3_pa_wolfswelpen2_animal_detail_801Photo Credits: Norbert Potensky

The curious wolf pups are eager to explore, but zoo visitors will need patience if they want a glimpse of the juveniles.  “The pups are still very timid and only take very short trips from the building. For Inja, it is her fourth litter, and as an experienced mother, she takes very good care of her offspring, said Zoo Director, Dagmar Schratter.

After three months, the pups will be weaned and begin to eat meat. Their current coloring is in stark contrast to the gleaming white fur of adult Arctic Wolves. “The white coat is an adaptation to their many months in their snow and ice-covered native habitat. Even the coat of young animals is every day brighter,” Schratter continued.

The Arctic Wolf is a sub-species of the Grey Wolf and is native to the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland.  Because of the isolation of their native habitat, they are not threatened by hunting or habitat destruction like their southern relatives. However, industrial development (mines, roads and pipeline construction) is gradually encroaching on their native territory, and will most likely interfere with food supplies, in the future. The Arctic Wolf is the only sub-species of wolf that is not classified as threatened.

They are smaller than Grey Wolves and typically grow to a length of 3 to 5.9 feet (including tail) and a max weight of 99 to 154 pounds.  In the wild, the Arctic Wolf survives mainly on muskox, arctic hares and caribou.


Connecticut's Only Zoo Now Home to Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups!

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Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of four critically endangered Red Wolf pups! Today, just 100 Red Wolves roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina, and nearly 200 Red Wolves are maintained in captive breeding facilities throughout the United States. Because of this, the birth of four pups – two male and two female - represents a welcome increase in the overall scarce population.

“We couldn’t be happier with how (the babies) are coming along,” stated Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “Both the Red Wolf mother and father are taking well to parenthood and the pups are just starting to venture out into the Wolf den for short periods of time.

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Learn more about these rare pups below the fold...

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