Toronto Star Picture Editor Wanda Goodwin shares this delightful set of photos featuring two endangered Maned Wolf puppies born at the Houston zoo recently. Yes, another cute alert courtesy of the Daily Beast. Check back often!
The Houston Zoo announced the births of two endangered maned wolf pups, Dora (l) and Diego (r), born December 30 to mom Lucy, 6 years old and father Seis, 8 years old.
The pups weigh just over 5 pounds now and are being cared for around the clock by Zoo carnivore and animal hospital staff.
The pups are fed 6 times each day and were just introduced to solid food recently.
The pups, Diego (has both ears down) and Dora (has one ear up and one down), were named after the lead characters in the children’s television cartoon programs Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go.
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.
There are less than 100 maned wolves living in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Only 17 maned wolf pups were born in 2009. Studies are in place to understand why maned wolves breed poorly. Information collected from zoo-maintained maned wolves will be used to begin thorough studies of wild populations to address the species most pressing needs in its native range.
Photos courtesy The Houston Zoo