NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Audubon Zoo is excited to announce that four maned wolf puppies were born on January 31, 2022. This is the first-ever maned wolves born at Audubon Zoo on record and the first offspring of female Brisa and male Sheldon, who arrived at the Zoo in August 2021.
“Brisa is doing extremely well as a first-time mother,” said Audubon Zoo’s Vice President and General Curator Bob Lessnau. “She is being extremely attentive to her pups and is nursing well. Sheldon is also stepping up to the plate of fatherhood and has been keeping a close eye on the pups.”
Brisa came to Audubon from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan recommendation to breed with Sheldon, who came from Sunset Zoo. Species Survival Plans are collaborative conservation efforts among AZA-accredited institutions that recommend breeding based on genetic compatibility.
The average gestation period for maned wolves is between 63 and 67 days.
Maned wolves are native to grasslands and scrub forests of South America. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they are considered a near threatened species. Their greatest threat to survival is human-wildlife conflict and habitat destruction due to the clearing of land for agriculture and development.
The family resides in the South American Boardwalk section of the Zoo and is currently bonding and adjusting to their new life as parents. There may be times in the upcoming weeks when guests can catch a glimpse of the family, but currently animal care staff are closely monitoring Brisa and Sheldon’s comfort levels. Additional barricades have been added in front of their habitat to further distance guests.
The maned wolves at the Zoo serve as ambassadors, teaching guests about the plight of this species in the wild. Being a good steward to the environment by reducing, refusing, recycling, and reusing can help to decrease the need for raw materials extracted from forests. Small actions can make a big difference for wildlife. Audubon is committed to helping create experiences that spark individual action and empower visitors to leave the natural world better than they found it.