The three adorable pups were born on December 27th in a heated enclosure. The zoo says first time parents, 6-year-old Bonita and 7-year-old Paulo, are relaxed and caring for the babies together, as is the norm for adult maned wolves.
According to zoo officials, Bonita is giving extra attention to the smallest pup in the litter, separating it from the rest to nurse adequately, while Paulo is anxious for that pup to return to the litter.
The birth of their pups is very important in that captive breeding can be difficult for maned wolves. It is also the first time for this species to do so at the Beardsley Zoo and in Connecticut.
According to the Beardsley Zoo, there are only 4,000 maned wolves in the wild but the number is dwindling due to their habitats being compromised by deforestation, as well as threats from humans and disease. There is also a belief that their organs are magical.
The zoo says that the development of a Species Survival Plan has enabled the breeding of maned wolves in captivity.
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“We couldn’t be happier with how our SSP program wolf pups and tiger cubs are coming along. Both the maned wolf mother and father are taking well to parenthood. We have left the family alone, monitoring their progress on cameras installed in the enclosure for that purpose. We’ll know more about them at their first vet check very soon,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director, in a statement.
The pups will be fully grown in a year, which is usually about 4 to 4.5 feet in length, excluding its tail, and weighing between 44 and 50 pounds.