The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here! The year's first litter of wolf pups was born on April 15th, 2016. We typically wait 12 days before we collect any pups for hand-raising. This ensures that their immune systems gets as strong as possible, while still allowing us to bond with the pups within their critical socialization window. We are only hand-raising some of the pups; the rest will be left with their moms.
Some of the studies that we do to learn more about wolves have to do with cognition, behavior and social learning. Wolves that are not hand-raised are too fearful of humans to participate in these studies, which essentially look like games. We feel very strongly that we need to keep learning more about wolves in order to be able to encourage tolerance for their wild counterparts on the landscape. These hand-raised pups will help us in that effort. It's a big job, and they're up for the challenge!
We keep the impacts on the moms lower by taking some, but not all, of the pups off of her when they are very young. The remaining pups are guaranteed adequate milk supply and very intensive care by the parents. They also provide an incredible education opportunity, allowing our visitors to witness a wolf pack raise pups right before their eyes!
It is always exciting to meet the new faces that will teach thousands of children and adults critical lessons! Keep up with our blog, and get to know our newest wolf ambassadors!