After a seven-year break, Schönbrunn Zoo can once again look forward to successfully breeding Arctic wolves. At the end of April, four young animals were born in a deep burrow and were initially raised there by their mother. “In the beginning, wolf cubs still have their eyes closed and are completely helpless. They need the protection of the den and the care of the mother. The four little ones can now often be seen playing, drinking and exploring. They also gain their first social experiences with the pack,” reports animal keeper Paul Wagner. They rarely retreat to the burrow to sleep. Wolf cubs are nursed for about three months. Gradually, they also begin to eat meat.
The offspring is the first of the current Schönbrunner wolf pack. “The female came to us in 2017 from Knuthenborg Safari Park in Denmark, the two males from the Monde Sauvage Safari Park in Belgium the previous year. The breeding success confirms that the composition of the pack fits,” says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. The arctic wolf inhabits the northern regions of North America and Greenland. “The brown colored hatchlings are difficult for enemies to spot in the burrows. Later, the bright white fur makes them nearly invisible to prey in their snowy home.”
Photos:: Daniel Zupanc
Translation: Franziska Graumann