Born in December last year, the four little wild canines have just begun making their first forays outdoors – and with a bit of luck visitors will be able to spot the adorable pups in the coming days and weeks.Their arrival at the end of the year felt like a little Christmas present: the four maned wolf pups were born on 24 December 2023. However, the birth of the quadruplets has been one of Hellabrunn Zoo’s best-kept secrets – until now. This is because the little ones needed to spend the first weeks of their lives completely protected in their indoor enclosure.

Now almost eight weeks later, the four pups are developing well and beginning to gradually explore their outdoor enclosure. At this stage, visitors will still require a bit of luck and patience to catch a glimpse of the offspring, but the youngsters are becoming more mobile and curious with each passing day. Their gait may still seem a bit clumsy, but with practice they will soon be able to master the use of their long legs. However, as they mature they will maintain a peculiar slightly swaying gait, which comes as a result of the species moving both legs on one side simultaneously, followed by both legs on the other side, when walking. This is known as a pacing gait.  

“It will take a while before we can conduct the first health check. At the moment, we are giving the family of six some privacy and observing the maned wolves from outside the enclosure. The two parents are doing a great job caring for their offspring,” said Kelly Pfaff, team leader for the maned wolves. As is typical with this species, the father is helping to raise the young.

Maned wolves are a species of wild canine native to South America and are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They have particularly long legs, an adaptation that allows them to see above the tall grasses of their preferred habitat: savannahs. Maned wolves are omnivores. As solitary animals, they rarely interact with other individuals, except during the mating season.

“We are naturally very pleased with this breeding success, as it confirms that the animals feel at home here and that we are also making an important contribution to the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP) for maned wolves in European zoos,” said zoo director Rasem Baban. The EEP coordinates the population of the animals living in zoos in Europe in order to preserve the species’ genetic diversity.

Hellabrunn Zoo has been home to maned wolves for many decades. The last litter of pups was born in 2007. Delgado and Aweti, the dad and mum of the latest offspring, are first-time parents who have been living at Hellabrunn since 2021. Their pups will become sexually mature at around one year old.

[Translate to English:] Ein Mähnenwolf-Jungtier.
[Translate to English:] Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jan Saurer