Busy Mating Season Bodes Well for Wolf Pups
The Suspense is “Mounting”
The culmination of breeding season has Wolf Conservation Center staff and supporters wondering, will there be pups in the spring? If the number of observed copulatory ties is an indicator, then yes!
This year, the WCC has three potential breeding pairs of wolves – Mexican gray wolves Trumpet and Lighthawk, red wolves Tyke and Lava, and red wolves Charlotte and Jacques. Each pairing was carefully constructed based on mean kinship levels and inbreeding coefficients, but what really mattered in the end was love – and hormones!
Join the wolves anytime via live webcams!
Flirting with Success
Wolves are mono-estrus, which means they breed once a year. Initial signs of fondness are quite flirtatious – spending time together, playful mountings, and, of course, tandem urination. As hormone levels increase, males and females become increasingly receptive to sexual advances and once a female begins to ovulate, numerous mountings and mating ties occur. Sixty-three days later, pups could be born!
All three pairs engaged in a multitude of mating ties this season, both on- and off-camera. These touching moments are exciting not only because they signify hope for endangered species recovery, but because they’re symbols of love and tenderness between wolves.
While we’re hoping for pups in the spring, our ultimate hope is for every wolf at the WCC to live a pleasurable and fulfilling life – and these three pairs have definitely accomplished the latter!