Yesterday’s pup check went great. Both pups were in the den. Pups in the main den makes life easier and quicker for everyone. Although at 5.5 weeks old, the pups were moving around so it meant Keeper Autumn had to actually climb into the den to pull them out.
The 5 week check is a quick one: get weights to ensure growth; give a quick look over the body to assure all looks well; and give the second round of dewormer. This is the age you start to notice those long lanky legs. Soon, the pups will be all legs (and ears).
Pup #2246 was up over 3.8 Kg today, and pup #2247 was almost 3.6 Kg. Excellent weight gain for both.
Our responsibility is great. You could say that the survival of the species depends on us on many levels.
We keep the red wolves here, as one of 43 institutions, helping to keep this species on the planet. We breed when charged to do so and do our due diligence to have healthy future generations of red wolves. We train Keepers how to interact with this amazing predator. Keepers that know how to safely catch and hold a red wolf means quick work and release. We take pictures and document everything we can. We gather samples and work with scientists and veterinarians on research to move our knowledge and abilities forward. We learn from behavior, hormones in fecal samples, studies of disease of the eyes and more. We even learn in death.
Pup 2248 was a surprising death and loss this year. We gathered and reviewed video footage, did a necropsy, ran cultures and histopathology, and we even have samples in a cryobank for the future. While the story of F2248 will never be known completely, it appears that like last year’s pup, she was pinned underneath mom, F2062, and couldn’t get out. This happens with animals that have litters and is more common in first time moms. The necropsy showed minimal bronchopneumonia. We’re not sure if this impacted the pup’s ability to free herself, was an artifact (a random find), or something potentially common in young pups.
We share not just the good stories, or the cute stories, but also the difficult ones. We gather information, see where the evidence takes us, and make changes as we can.
Come by the wolf exhibit and make your own red wolf memory. The story of watching an endangered red wolf pup will last a lifetime and be one worth sharing.