The response to the maned wolf puppies has been overwhelming – hundreds of you have watched their videos and commented on their photos. Social media is allowing us to share so much more of what goes on behind the scenes at the zoo, which is as much fun for us as it is for our guests. I’m going to take some time today to answer some of your frequently asked questions and respond to some of your comments.
Why aren’t the puppies being raised by their mother and how is she doing since the birth?
Dora and Diego’s mother, Lucy is still inexperienced at motherhood and that first night she was having some trouble with the pups. Because it was so cold that night, we had to intervene or there was a danger the pups could have frozen to death. For more on how that first night went, check out the first post in this series. Lucy and Seis are doing fine and are out on exhibit together. Unfortunately we won’t be able to put the puppies back with their parents because we still need to feed them ourselves.
Dora and Deigo at 4 weeks old
They are so cute, I want one!
I suspect that most of the time this is said as an impulsive response to cute baby photos but there are a few people out there that think an exotic pet might be a neat idea. On the contrary, its a really bad idea, and here’s why: exotic animals are not domesticated like cats, dogs, goats, etc. so while they might be tame and cute as youngsters, they outgrow that and start acting like wild animals eventually. This usually results in a phone call to the zoo asking us to take the animal because its too expensive, its destroying the house, or worse, it has injured a person or a pet. Unfortunately we can’t take all these animals and their owners struggle to find good homes for them. Still not convinced? There’s more info on our website.
I wish I was there helping raise those puppies – how do I get that job?
Working here at the zoo is one of the best jobs in the world, but its not all playing with cute animals. Zookeeping is hard work, you spend most of your time outdoors, you work weekends, nights, holidays, hurricanes and snowstorms. Its hard physical labor cleaning cages and hauling hay bales, but it also requires a strong educational background in animal behavior, conservation, and biology.
Still want to be a zookeeper? A degree in a wildlife related field is a good place to start but the field is competetive, so you’ll need some experience too. Time spent as an intern or volunteer gives you the chance to do all of the above (for no pay of course). Volunteering is a great way to see if this is the job for you and it also allows people that already have another career a chance to work at the zoo too.
My point is, its a lot of hard work that leads up to the opportunity to do something this special, and whether you are staff or a volunteer, you have to the whole job, not the fun parts.
carnivore keeper Angie feeds Dora
When will the puppies be on exhibit?
We’re still working on the plan for this one, but we hope to have them out for at least part of the day in the next few weeks. Before they can leave the zoo clinic, they have to get their shots and we want to make sure its warm enough for them to go outside. We’ll keep you posted here on the blog when they are ready to make their big debut!
Thanks for all your interest and support and let me know in the comments if you have more questions! And keep checking back for the next news about the maned wolf pups.