Schönbrunn Zoo, in Vienna, five Arctic Wolf pups were seen exploring their exhibit for the first time, with mom, ‘Inja’. The pups were born April 25, in a protective, low-lying burrow in their forest exhibit enclosure.
The curious wolf pups are eager to explore, but zoo visitors will need patience if they want a glimpse of the juveniles. “The pups are still very timid and only take very short trips from the building. For Inja, it is her fourth litter, and as an experienced mother, she takes very good care of her offspring, said Zoo Director, Dagmar Schratter.
After three months, the pups will be weaned and begin to eat meat. Their current coloring is in stark contrast to the gleaming white fur of adult Arctic Wolves. “The white coat is an adaptation to their many months in their snow and ice-covered native habitat. Even the coat of young animals is every day brighter,” Schratter continued.
The Arctic Wolf is a sub-species of the Grey Wolf and is native to the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. Because of the isolation of their native habitat, they are not threatened by hunting or habitat destruction like their southern relatives. However, industrial development (mines, roads and pipeline construction) is gradually encroaching on their native territory, and will most likely interfere with food supplies, in the future. The Arctic Wolf is the only sub-species of wolf that is not classified as threatened.
They are smaller than Grey Wolves and typically grow to a length of 3 to 5.9 feet (including tail) and a max weight of 99 to 154 pounds. In the wild, the Arctic Wolf survives mainly on muskox, arctic hares and caribou.