At 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, the Zoo will introduce its two Amur tiger cubs (Panthera tigris altaica) and three Maned wolf pups (Chrysocyon brachyurus ) to the public. At that time, the Zoo will celebrate the five Zoo babies as officially available for viewing in their outdoor habitats. Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim will join Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and Deputy Director Don Goff in introducing the cub and pups. The tiger cubs have been cared for in the Zoo’s Animal Health Center since their birth. The cubs received worldwide attention and national coverage when they were born, due to their endangered status and the rarity of Amur tiger births.
The survival of the two female cubs born on November 25, 2017 is cause for celebration, said Dancho. “From the moment when we realized that their mother, Changbai, was not responding to the needs of her offspring, it was never guaranteed that the cubs would survive,” he explained. “Removing cubs for hand rearing is risky, and required extraordinary dedication from our animal care staff in feeding and monitoring them around the clock.”
The three maned wolf pups—two females and one male-- were born on December 27, 2018in a heated enclosure prepared in advance for the birth. The adult maned wolves are first time parents, but are caring for the babies together, as is the norm for this species. Captive breeding can be difficult with maned wolves, requiring excellent animal husbandry and caretaking by the animal care staff. A naming contest for the three pups is underway on the Zoo’s Facebook page this week.
“Accredited zoos do much more than simply display animals to visitors,” Dancho explained. “Zoos like ours play a vital role in conservation, through saving species at risk of extinction in the wild. The maned wolf pups are a significant achievement for the Zoo, and for the state of Connecticut.”
About Amur Tigers
Amur tigers are a critically endangered species that is rapidly disappearing from wild areas. The cubs’ survival is an important step in maintaining the genetic line of their mother, Changbai, and their father, Petya, and contributes to the genetic diversity of Amur tiger conservation worldwide. Over the last century, tiger numbers have fallen by about 95 percent, and tigers now survive in 40 percent less of the area they occupied just a decade ago. Poaching, habitat destruction and climate change have all taken a toll on the tiger population.
About Maned wolves
The maned wolf is not really a wolf, but neither is it a fox. It is a canid, and is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon,meaning “golden dog.” Described as looking like a fox on stilts, these shy mammals are native to South America, and dislike cold weather. For that reason, they have access to a heated enclosure year round. Part of the Zoo’s Pampas Plains exhibits, they inhabit lowland grasslands and scrublands of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.
For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.com.
Photo credits: both photos by Shannon Calvert