Support Wild Maned Wolf Conservation!

Support Wild Maned
Wolf Conservation!


The Natural Science Center & Animal Discovery of Greensboro is home to two adult maned wolves, Lana and Nazca. Maned wolves are an endangered member of the canine family and are from South America. They resemble large foxes and are very beautiful animals. In 2008, the Natural Science Center, with support from the Brooks Family and Duke Energy, built a state-of-the-art exhibit and holding area in the hopes that we would be approved to receive a breeding pair of maned wolves in the future.

The AZA Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP®) was impressed with our exhibit and decided to send us two sister wolves to start so that the staff could gain experience with the species before participating in the breeding program. Luna and Nena arrived from Little Rock, AR and the Jean and Taylor Brooks Family Maned Wolf Conservation Center and Duke Energy Solar Solutions Center opened in April 11th, 2008. The sisters' genes are currently more represented in the captive population than other maned wolves' so the SSP® then decided to swap them with a young breeding pair. In fall 2009, Lana arrived from White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, FL. and Nazca arrived from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at Front Royal, VA.

This blog will follow the story of the 2010/2011 Reproductive Season for Lana & Nazca. It will also provide information on the conservation program and about maned wolves as a species. Use the Archive at the right of this page to see each post. We hope you enjoy as we share this wonderful story!

We want to thank the Maned Wolf SSP® Species Coordinator, Melissa Rodden, at SCBI and all the MWSSP® advisers for providing us with most of the maned wolf information found in this blog.

The Jean and Taylor Brooks Family Maned Wolf Conservation Center "was given in loving memory of Drs. Jean and Taylor Brooks, by Jim Brooks, to honor their lives and lifelong appreciation for and commitment to the natural world; and also in memory of his godmother Katherine Pierce, co-founder of the Natural Science Center, 1957. This habitat was created with the hope that it will serve to inspire and motivate each of us to be conscious stewards of our planet, its resources and all its creatures."

About the author: Kim Clark has been an animal keeper and educator at the Natural Science Center of Greensboro since the opening of Animal Discovery in 2007. She hopes that the Natural Science Center's maned wolf breeding program, as well as this blog, will make a significant difference in maned wolf conservation efforts worldwide. Most of the photos in this blog were taken by zookeepers Kim Clark and Amber Walker.

December 5th-12th, 2010

Keeper staff observes mating activity for a full ten days between the two maned wolves. 
Because maned wolves are shy and don't live in packs, it is difficult for biologists to accurately estimate their numbers in the wild. IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists the species as Near Threatened with a population estimate of about 13,000 mature individuals. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service has listed the species as Endangered since 1970. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) lists the maned wolf in Appendix II, meaning that they believe that strict regulation is required to keep them from becoming in danger of extinction. In the countries where the maned wolf is native, the conservation status varies from country to country. 

The Maned Wolf SSP® (Species Survival Plan) is a part of the AZA SSP® 
 program that works to "manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered, ex situ species population with the cooperation of AZA-accredited Zoos & Aquariums, certified related facilities, and approved non-member participants." According to the National Zoo, the SSPs® work to  "research captive husbandry issues, develop educational programs to alert the public to conservation threats, and work with governmental organizations and wildlife biologists in the species' range countries to initiate conservation programs."   
There are currently between 80 and 90 maned wolves in captivity in the United States at 29 different institutions. The MWSSP® has made recommendations for 16 pairs of these wolves to breed this 2010/2011 season. These recommendations are based on the need to maintain a genetically healthy captive U.S. population with a gene diversity above 90%. If it falls below 90%, reproductive health may suffer. Gene diversity is currently at 92.7%. To help maintain this diversity, the MWSSP® will be importing some maned wolves from Brazilian zoos. 

Breeding maned wolves in captivity has proven challenging. Researchers are trying to determine if stress or poor nutrition could be a factor. Solutions to these obstacles are a high priority. The Natural Science Center & Animal Discovery of Greensboro hopes that by exceeding the minimum standards in the living space and husbandry for these animals, we can contribute to the conservation of this species.