Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Thaw?




The Northeast may have been hit by a cold snap, but things seem to be heating up in one of our red wolf enclosures! When F1397 and M1483, members of the SSP for critically endangered red wolves, were first introduced as potential mates, their interactions reminded us of a junior high school dance: there was a lot of awkwardness and the boy and girl were definitely keeping their distance from each other.


Lately though, relations seem to be thawing. The other day we observed some interesting interactions, with F1397 playfully approaching M1483 as he snacked on some leftover deer. Could this be flirting? There's definitely still some tension (especially when F1397 gets her teeth and paws on a deer carcass), but we're hoping this could be the start of a beautiful relationship...




6 comments:

Michael said...

Congratulations, Josh!
What a great picture series!
The grey varnished wolf is really the female?
That's what we males want !?

Josh said...

Thanks Michael! Well, we're hoping she's what M1483 wants...

Michael said...

M1483 is surprised, he doesn't believe it yet really.
We can hope.

DeLene said...

Great little photo essay -- thanks for sharing! What sort of "courtship" behavior do you look for to know that they are getting along?

Josh said...

Hi DeLene,

Glad you like the photos. Great question! Naturally it's a good sign that the two wolves are starting to spend more time in close proximity to each other. Bonding signs can include marking over the other's mark, nuzzling, following one another, and parallel walking.

I have a hard enough time figuring out my own species' courtship behavior, but according to Maggie, if the wolves' relationship progresses we should look for: "prancing," wrestling, sniffing of the, uh, derriere, and resting one's chin on the other.

If they urinate in tandem, it could be a good sign that they are a couple.

We'll be keeping an eye out and providing updates, so please keep checking in here or on our Facebook page.

Michael said...

Additionally, specially M1483: He doesn't come willingly "from cover", how we can see in the video of his arrival at Center.