If you love wolves, here’s some excellent news.  The critically endangered maned wolf’s population recently grew by 3 thanks to the Beardsley Zoo!

WFSB reports that less than 4,000 maned wolves remain in the wild.  Their numbers shrink year after year due to deforestation, disease, and human involvement.

It’s because some people believe maned wolves have “magical organs.”  So poaching is a major problem.

But thanks to a successful breeding program, wildlife officials have hope for the future.

6-year-old Bonita and 7-year-old Paulo are first time parents and they absolutely adore their three pups.  Co-parenting is a typical trait of the maned wolf.   But, these two exceeded all of the Beardsley Zoo’s expectations.

Bonita takes extra care of the litter’s runt and make sure it nurses enough to stay healthy.  Meanwhile, Paulo frets when she separates the runt and wants it to return to its siblings.

This is a major shift from the zoo’s two Amur tiger cubs.  Their mother rejected them shortly after birth.

But, Bonita and Paulo take their parenting very seriously, which is a huge relief for zoo officials.  That’s because breeding maned wolves in captivity proves tricky and isn’t always successful. But, thanks to the Species Survival Plan, this story has a happy ending.

The three pups should reach maturity next year.  For now, zoo staff intend on giving mom and dad their space and monitor the puppies through cameras.

No word on when the pups will be strong enough to venture out on their own.  Hopefully soon, though!  Who doesn’t want to see adorable maned wolf puppies!

Also, the birth of these pups not only make it the first time maned wolves successfully bred at the zoo, it’s a first in Connecticut, too!

Oh, and fun fact.  Maned wolves aren’t actually wolves.  They’re not related to foxes, either.  They don’t share any common DNA with either canid.

Maned wolves are of the genus “golden dog” and they’re the only species of their kind.  They have no other relatives.

So, come spring, make a journey to the Beardsley Zoo to see all the baby animals.  Or, at least, learn more about them and why they’re so important.

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