Maned Wolf Pups Add to our 2018 Puppy Boom

Maned Wolf Puppy GirlAdopt Maned Wolves 2018 was supposed was supposed to be the Year of the Dog, but here at the Endangered Wolf Center, it will go down as the Year of the Pups.

First, in the Spring, we successfully cross-fostered eight Mexican wolf pups born at the EWC into wild packs in Arizona and New Mexico – making cross-foster history.

This ground-breaking effort pushed conservation forward for this critically endangered wolf by growing (and increase genetic health of) the wild population.

Then in November, African painted dog sisters Shaba and Akili each had litters of pups, 13 and 10 respectively, for a total of 23 pups born within a few days of each other – an historic first for the EWC and the most pups born at a zoological institution at one time!

And finally, not to be left out, just a few days later, maned wolves couple Nina and Nopal became parents to two maned wolf pups, a girl, Francisca, and a boy, Chrys-their first successful litter.

Near the end of September, keepers at the EWC observed breeding behavior between Nina and Nopal. Because maned wolves are notorious for not “showing” during their pregnancies, keepers couldn’t be sure – but they crossed their fingers and readied the heated den box in hopes of soon welcoming pups.

Maned Wolf PuppyOn November 27, Nina gave birth on her own 9th birthday! Could there be a better gift?

Nina and Nopal are incredible parents. Nina has been a dutiful mother, carefully grooming and nursing her pups. Keepers have monitored her closely via den cameras, watching as she gathers any pup straying too far from her belly and ushers back to her.

In the beginning, Nopal gave Nina much needed space, letting her focus on caring for the pups. He is happy to see her when she comes out to stretch her legs, but seemed to know not to disturb the little ones.

As the pups grew, Nopal stepped in to help Nina with caring for the pups. His patience is amazing, carefully grooming the pups, letting them climb all over him, often play tug-o-war with dad’s ears and tail. It is amazing watching both parents and their tiny pups snuggle together in the den.

Both pups are healthy and active, and at 8 weeks old, they are venturing out of their den and exploring their surroundings.

Maned wolves are very unique, unfamiliar to many people due to the small number in managed care. They are native to South America, where its range extends from the Amazon basin in Brazil to the dry shrub forests of Paraguay and northern Argentina.

The maned wolf is a canid, and therefore related to the wolf, but despite its name, it not actually a wolf. Maned wolves are more closely related to an ancient ancestor of today’s modern canids. It is the only species in its genus, however, meaning that the maned wolf has no close relatives. Their foxlike appearance, in conjunction with their remarkably long legs, has earned them the nickname of “fox on stilts.” But being the tallest canid in the world, standing at nearly 3 ½ feet tall (but weighing only ~50 lbs).

Mom Nina arrived at the Endangered Wolf Center in August 2010, less than a year old and full of energy! She immediately became a favorite, with her bold and curious personality. For the majority of her life she lived with her sister, Freesia, but a big change came in 2015, when she became approved to breed.

We happily welcomed a handsome new male named Nopal (Spanish for prickly pear cactus) from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to pair with her. Nopal’s shy and calm personality is the perfect complement to Nina’s outgoing and audacious self.

They immediately bonded and are often seen cuddling in their den, grooming each other, or walking together exploring their habitat. They are always a favorite sight on our tours, and our guest walk away with an appreciation for their threatened species, empowered to help in their conservation.

Join us this spring at the EWC to meet all of our pups and welcome these precious new lives into the pack!

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