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.

February 17th, 2011

Keepers went into the exhibit today to clean and start to resume some of our normal routine. Lana and Nazca didn't seem to mind. 

Because maned wolves seem to get stressed easily in captivity, White Oak Conservation Center decided to try a new approach to pup-rearing. Lana and her brothers were the first litter in which this new approach was tried. Parent-rearing is very important when possible, but White Oak wanted to also make sure that the pups were comfortable around their human caretakers to reduce over-all stress. To do this, White Oak would separate Lana's parents away from the pups for a short period every day and slowly spend a small amount of time socializing with the pups. Some parents will allow this separation and interaction without any problems, while others will not. We think that this new approach is one of the reasons that Lana is so calm and comfortable with us. We would like to copy White Oak's approach with this litter; we will be the only other institution to try it so far. If Lana and Nazca won't separate from the pups or if they seem too stressed or worried while they are away from the pups, we will stop the process. We are limiting this pup social time to keeper staff that the parents are already familiar with. This will not only reduce the possible stress on them, but will also limit the possibility of disease transmission by limiting the amount of foot traffic into the area. In the coming photos, it may look like the maned wolf pups are just like any puppy. This may be true in many ways right now, but don't be fooled by this socialization process. In a few weeks, we will no longer hold them or pet them. It will eventually be unsafe for us to do so and something that we wouldn't want to continue for adult wolves. When the pups are older, we will begin doing training sessions with them similar to how we train their parents.
Yesterday, the parents' primary trainers started the process. We first separated the parents from the pups by luring them outside with treats. We then entered their inside holding area and gave the adults fresh food and water. We just wanted to start to introduce our scent into the area, so we walked around the den box a couple of times and then left the area without touching anything. We let mom and dad back inside and observed their reaction to our scent around the den. Neither parent seemed concerned and Lana soon settled in the den with her pups again.

The pups' eyes should be fully open by today. However, they won't be able to see very well until they are about three weeks old.