Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Mating Game: Couple Number Four!

Welcome back the Wolf Conservation Center's: THE MATING GAME! So far we've introduced you to the three of our four breeding pairs so today we'll be meeting our final wolf-couple "contestant." Hopefully you'll become even more familiar with all our couples by spying on them in real time on our soon-to-be launched WildEarth.TV webcams!

Couple Number 3: Red Wolves F1397 and M1483


Both F1397 and M1483 joined the WCC family in the fall of 2009. M1483 was transferred from the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA and F1397 used to call the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC home. This pair is hands down our most popular wolf couple at the WCC. Tens of thousands of WCC supporters have been entertained by the secret lives of this elusive family via our red wolf WOLFCAM.

During early March, WOLFCAM watchers were treated to some VERY encouraging romantic behavior between five-year-old M1483 and his mate, six-year-old F1397! The lupine lovers carried on for a couple of days giving the thousands of peeping toms some hope that pups are on the way. The gestation period (length of pregnancy) for wolves is 63 days, so we this red wolf family could have reason to celebrate come early May!

This couple isn't new to the Mating Game, they bred successfully during the 2010 season and had two beautiful sons, m180 and m1804. Their triumphant go at it in last winter may offer WCC guests a chance to observe a multi-generational pack of this critically endangered species! Endangered SSP wolves are usally kept away from human contact, but visitors to the WCC can catch glimpses of this pair because they are not destined to be released into the wild. Though they will live their lives in captivity, the pair is vital to the survival of red wolves as breeding stock. If F1397 has pups that are deemed suitable for reintroduction, they will be sneaked into litters in the wild. A number of captive born pups each year are selected to be transferred and inserted into the den of wild wolves. The wild wolves then embrace and raise these new pups as their own. The pups develop in the wild and thus gain survival skills required to mature and reproduce. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

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