Wolf

Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pup Gets a Wild Foster Mom

Red wolf

In late April, a Red Wolf pup was born at the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program facility in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina. Born in captivity, the little female was the only surviving pup of her litter. The Red Wolf Recovery Program has taken this opportunity to introduce the pup to a wild litter of pups.

Since 2002, the Red Wolf Recovery Program has been successfully fostering pups into wild litters to help increase the genetic diversity of this critically endangered species. The attempts have been a great success: no wild wolf mother has ever been known to reject a foster pup. The survival rates of fostered pups also seem to be the same as their wild-born littermates’.

The captive-born pup was introduced into a litter of two females. Conservationists worked quickly and carefully to remove all pups from the den while the mother was away. They collected blood samples to keep track of parentage and implanted a microchip in each pup. When the wolves are older, they will be captured for a radio-collar fitting, and a quick scan of the microchip will allow USF&W to identify the wolf without temporarily holding it in captivity. Once the foster pup was masked with the scent of her littermates’ urine, all three were returned to the den to wait for their mother’s return.  

Red wolf 2

Red wolf 3
Photo Credits: USFWS / B.Bartel

There are several factors that can determine the likelihood of successful fostering. Ideally, the pups need to be no older than two-weeks of age at the time of the fostering.  During this time, the strong maternal instinct of the mother decreases the likelihood of pup rejection. The pups have limited mobility at this age as well, which ensures they will stay in or nearby the den site and the mother.  All the pups need to be similar in age, to reduce any one-sided competition for food.  Lastly, a good potential foster mother usually has a relatively low number of pups in her litter, ensuring that she will be able to care for the new addition.

Once common throughout the eastern and south-central United States, Red Wolf populations were decimated by the early part of the 20th century as a result of intensive predator control programs and the degradation and alteration of the species' habitat. The red wolf was designated an endangered species in 1967, and shortly thereafter the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated efforts to conserve the species. Today, more than 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.


Wolf Pup Gets a New Home in Colorado

3553_10151328460881594_699410695_n

Kenyi, a British Columbian Tundra Wolf pup, has a new home after traveling across the country to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  Born in Florida, Kenyi and his two siblings were unplanned, so there was not enough room for them to remain at their birthplace.

544140_10151319267346594_1440771650_n

305991_10151320186016594_792559818_n

936203_10151334060926594_1019990003_n

575454_10151333533141594_1705062585_n
Photo Credits:  Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

The sanctuary’s staff has already started introducing Kenyi to some of its resident wolves, albeit through the safety of a fence. 

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is a sanctuary for a variety of canids, including Timber Wolves, Alaskan Wolves, Arctic Wolves, Mexican Grey Wolves, Swift Foxes, and Coyotes.  The sanctuary is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). 

As an AZA facility, the center supports conservation efforts by participating in Species Survival Plan programs for Mexican Grey Wolves and Swift Foxes.

 

UPDATE: Maned Wolf Pups Come Out of Hiding to Visit the Vet

529857_478075368913559_1718579180_n

Two Maned Wolf Pups born at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Liberec on January 10 had their first visit to the veterinarian this week to receive vaccinations and determine their gender.  The pair, a male and a female, was proclaimed in excellent health by the veterinary staff. 

The pups, who were profiled on ZooBorns last month, weighed only about a pound (.5 kg) at birth, but they have rapidly gained weight.  At the exam, each weighed more than six pounds (2.8 kg). The pups are the first Maned Wolves ever born at Zoo Liberec.

541374_478075385580224_1360974983_n

299699_478075288913567_2137364315_n

482406_478075365580226_1373709258_n

522471_478075092246920_854143960_n
Photo Credits:  Zoo Liberec

Native to South America, Maned Wolves are unique among canids.  They are distinguished by long legs, a bushy mane which is erected when the Wolf is threatened, and a skunk-like odor.  Maned Wolves live solitary lives roaming the grasslands of central South America.  They eat small mammals as well as tubers, fruits, and sugarcane.

Maned Wolves are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but in some parts of their range, notably in Uruguay, this species may be nearly extirpated (locally extinct). 

 


Wolf Quints Make Their Debut

Wolf Cubs3 cropped

Five furry European Grey Wolf pups made their debut last week at Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.  Born on May 25 to mum Elara and dad Puika, the still-shy six-week-old pups are starting to explore their forested habitat, aptly named Wolf Wood.   It’s been 12 years since Wolves were born at the park.

The pups’ genders are not yet known, but park officials have already decided to name one of the pups “Forty,” in honor of the park’s 40th anniversary.   

 “The pups, especially one particularly bold individual, are now beginning to wander around the large wooded enclosure, which does seem to cause their mother some anxiety,” said Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager.  “The Park is visited by quite a number of people with a special interest in Wolves and it is hoped that this latest breeding success will generate further interest in this much-maligned species, especially as it is an animal that formerly roamed over most of the country.”

Wolves were once common throughout Europe, but in the 1800s, they were eliminated in most of central and northern Europe.  Since then, Wolves have been reestablished in some parts of the region, despite threats from overhunting and poaching.  Today, the largest wild European Grey Wolf populations are in the eastern European countries of Poland and Romania, and in the Balkans.

Wolf Cub1 cropped

3 cubs cropped
Photo credit:  Alex Riddell


Artic Wolf Pups Emerge at Knuthenborg Safari Park

Yip

They were born on May 7, but these Arctic Wolf pups were just seen coming out of their cave by keepers for the first time at Knuthenborg Safaripark in Denmark.

Just three puppies were spotted peeking their heads out at the edge of their den... but then came two more fuzzy little heads. "We are really happy", says Animal and Dissemination Manager for Knuthenborg Safari Park, Lisbeth Hoegh. "We had, at best, hoped for three pups, but there are five! Unusually large broods indicate a wolf-mother who works well in her role."

The Arctic Wolf is also called the Polar or White Wolf, and lives in the northernmost regions of Canada and Greenland. They are related to the Gray Wolf. They are considered endangered, due to being hunted for their beautifully colored soft pelts, among other reasons. In the wild they are very scarce, and there are even fewer in captivity. 

Billederafulve006

Billederafulve003

Billederafulve004

Billederafulve014
Photo Credit: Knuthenborg Safaripark


Trio of Rare Wolf Pups Born at the Great Plains Zoo

Trio

The Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota announced the birth of three rare Red Wolf pups. There are only about 100 Red Wolves left in the entire wild population! Four-year-old mom Ayasha gave birth to a litter of three pups last month - two females and a male. They weighed less than a pound at birth and fit into the palm of a zookeeper’s hand. The zoo’s animal care staff monitored the birth through video
cameras and continues to observe the new family.

“These are important births to our zoo and to the survival of the entire Red Wolf population,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo. “Red  Wolves are one of the world’s most endangered animals. These pups are important ambassadors for their species, and are helping to shine a light on the plight of these vanishing animals.”

Just like human newborns, the pups will spend much of their time sleeping, eating and settling in with their mother. The pups are expected to be on exhibit, viewable by the public, in the next few weeks. The pups father Tamaska can be seen daily in the Red Wolf exhibit.

Pup

3
Photo Credit: Great Plains Zoo

Read more about Red Wolf Pups below the jump:

Continue reading "Trio of Rare Wolf Pups Born at the Great Plains Zoo" »


Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Born at Point Defiance

464852_10150826213229624_125282134623_9734535_1756458695_o

ZooBorns strives to highlight the ways animals born at accredited zoos and aquariums can directly support vital conservation programs in the wild. Perhaps no effort better illustrates this than the Red Wolf Recovery Program, for which the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the flagship breeding facility.

Hunted, poisoned and cut off from natural habitat, Red Wolves were formally declared extinct in the wild after biologists captured the remaining 17 wolves in the 1970s for an ambitious new pilot breeding program. Remarkably, 14 of the those wolves bred in captivity and by 1987 enough pups had been born for the US Fish & Wildlife to attempt reintroduction efforts.

Today over 100 Red Wolves roam their native habitats in northeastern North Carolina. While this a far cry from the tens of thousands that once ranged from New England to Florida, it still represents a tremendous success, marking the first time a predator population has been rebuilt in the wild after being declared extinct in the wild.

477263_10150826216334624_125282134623_9734546_1581522851_o

457358_10150826216179624_125282134623_9734545_647563807_o

On May 14, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff were delighted to welcome 8 critically endangered Red Wolf pups to mother Millie, an 8-year-old female, and father 9-year-old Graham. Millie is an attentive and protective mother, said Will Waddell, the zoo’s Red Wolf program coordinator, who also manages the nationwide Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and is part of the Red Wolf Recovery Team. 

While these pups are first born on zoo grounds in 29 years, the program has produced hundreds of pups at off-site breeding facilities since its inception.

 

460230_10150826214714624_125282134623_9734539_1407895726_o

Zoo staff are working on a closed-circuit camera feed of Millie and her pups in their den so they might be viewable by the media and the public. They likely will come out of their den and into the exhibit in three to four weeks – a purely voluntary action – Waddell said.

470789_10150826218914624_125282134623_9734552_398132010_oPhoto credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Learn more about the Point Defiance Zoo's leadership in the Red Wolf Recovery Program and visit the program's official US FIsh & Wildlife page. For more info and photos, continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading "Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Born at Point Defiance" »


Four Maned Wolf Pups For The Smithsonian!

National-Zoo-Maned-Wolf-Pups4

Although 2012 has only just begun, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia (SCBI-FR), already has something to celebrate in the new year: the birth of four Maned Wolf pups Jan. 5. It is the first litter born at SCBI-FR in two years and will play an important role in helping researchers maintain a viable, self-sustaining population under human care.

“Every pup born here helps us understand more about the biology of this incredible species,” said Nucharin Songsasen, an SCBI research biologist. “SCBI has a long history with the Maned Wolf, both in terms of studying the biology and maintaining the genetic diversity of individuals living under human care, as well as in conserving the animals in the wild.”

National-Zoo-Maned-Wolf-Pups3

National-Zoo-Maned-Wolf-Pups2

National-ZOo-Maned-Wolf-Pups
Photo credit: Lisa Ware, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The four pups were born to mother, 8-year-old Salina, and father, 4-year-old Nopal, who was born at SCBI-FR. Maned Wolf pups have a 50 percent mortality rate in the first month, so keepers are monitoring them closely. This litter is particularly valuable because Nopal is the 10th most genetically valuable male among the 36 reproductively viable males in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan, which matches animals across the country to ensure genetic diversity in the population. Seventy-two maned wolf pups have been born at SCBI-FR since 1975, and the facility currently has 12 wolves, including the pups. The National Zoo has two maned wolves on exhibit at the Cheetah Conservation Station.

Continue reading "Four Maned Wolf Pups For The Smithsonian!" »


Meet Dora and Diego the Maned Wolf Pups!

Dora and Diego, Maned Wolf puppies at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is proud to announce the births of two rare Maned Wolf pups. Born December 30, the pups are being hand reared at the Houston Zoo's Denton Cooley Animal Hospital. "This is the first successful birth of Maned Wolves at the Houston Zoo in over 10 years," said Houston Zoo Curator of Carnivores and Primates Hollie Colahan. "The pups weigh just over 5 pounds now and are being cared for around the clock by Zoo carnivore and animal hospital staff," added Colahan. The pups are fed 6 times each day and were just introduced to solid food last week. Maned Wolves are not closely related with any other living Canid (wolf, dog or fox) and one study suggests that they may be the sole South American surivivor of the mass extinction of large Canids at the end of the last ice age. 

Diego's weigh-in

Diego does his best puppy dog eyes at the Houston Zoo

Maned Wolves are native to the grasslands, savannahs and tall grass prairies of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The species once thrived and ranged throughout much of South America.Unlike other wolves that live in cooperative breeding packs, Maned Wolves are solitary animals. Little is known about their lives in the wild where their populations are increasingly threatened by habitat loss to agriculture.

MUCH more cuteness below the fold...

Continue reading "Meet Dora and Diego the Maned Wolf Pups!" »


Polar Wolf Mother Spotted Nuzzling with Pups

Yesterday, zoo visitor Ulli J. snapped these pictures of a mother Arctic Wolf, also known as a Polar Wolf tending to her young. The Monde Sauvage Safari Park in Belgium is home to these North American natives. In the wild, Polar Wolf mothers leave the pack when they are pregnant to seek safe refuge for their cubs. It is not uncommon for her siblings to help care for these young while she finds food outside the den.

4628721344_0451403222_o

4628722300_239018912a_o

4628721536_d44e376661_o

4628118937_08bf9f2fc2_o

4628119157_35bb8590f6_o
Photo Credits: Ulli J.