Magnificent Maned Wolves

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    The Denver Zoo has two new additions!

    The Denver Zoo has two new additions! They recently welcomed two-year old maned (pronounced mained) wolves Inigo and Adrinna to their zoo family. Each came from a separate zoo and it was no accident they were paired together. Adrinna and Inigo are part of a Species Survival Program, where young zoo animals are paired up to breed. Not only will their babies make an adorable addition to the zoo population and certainly bring in more patrons, they will also be helping the world’s maned wolf population.

    So what exactly is a maned wolf? Well, Beth Jo Schoberl, the director of primates and carnivores at the Denver Zoo doesn’t hesitate to say that they are:

    “Gorgeous, smart, and fun animals!” As for their looks, these Dog Family animals have long legs, big ears and a beautiful red coat. They actually look more like a fox than a wolf and are not related to any other wolves. But it’s the black strip of fur or “mane” on the backs of their necks that can be raised to scare things off that gave them their unique name. Perhaps the most fascinating maned wolf fact is that they are the only species in their genus, a very rare occurrence!

    When the Denver Zoo’s last arctic wolves died, they needed animals to fill the wolf packs’ large exhibit. At the same time, there were many young maned wolves that needed a home. It was a perfect match! The enclosure was designed to hold an entire wolf pack, so the two maned wolves fit the space nicely, as they typically live in a large area in the wild. This is where the Species Survival Program came in. The SSP looks at genetics, keeping animal populations healthy, and diets for animals. Sometimes, they plan up to 100 years into the future for certain species’ welfare plans! This group of dedicated people knew that Inigo and Adrinna would be good for breeding. But how?

    “They are both young and inquisitive,” says Schoberl, “Also, they are a genetic match.” For the time being, no one has heard the wolves distinctive mating call, so no babies are on the way yet. But hopefully, 2014 will host the birth of a new cute, little maned wolf or two!