Thursday, July 28, 2016

Highland Wildlife Park welcome six fluffy wolf cubs to the pack

07.27.2016

Six adorable wolf pups have been welcomed to the pack at Cairngorms National Park in the north of Scotland.

The six pups were born on June 3 to mother Ruby and father Jax and joined the pack at Wolf Wood in the Highland wildlife park.

At seven weeks old, the shy cubs can now be seen playing and tumbling in their 4,500 square metre enclosure.

The pups do not stray too far from their mother's sight as they gradually gain the confidence to venture out further in the enclosure.

They are the first set of wolves to be born at the park since 2013 but are yet to be named by keepers as the boisterous pups have yet to be named.

Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said that wolves have been an "iconic" species at the park since it opened in 1972.

He said: "We are really pleased about the birth of the six wolf pups.

"The last pups to be born at the Park arrived in 2013 and Ruby, this year's mum, was born in the Park in 2012.

"Her siblings went on to join other collections as part of a coordinated approach to European wolf management in the UK, whilst Ruby stayed behind to start her own pack.

"This is the first time Ruby has had pups and she is proving to be an excellent mother.

"The pups are doing very well and are slowly starting to wander from the den, although they are still quite shy and always remain close to their mother's side.

"The wolf has been an iconic species at Highland Wildlife Park since its opening in 1972 and it is wonderful to see a new pack developing.

"As they would disperse from their natal pack in the wild, these pups will eventually go out to other collections to augment existing packs or help create new ones.

"But whether at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park or in any other zoological collection, they will also have a role in helping to dispel many of the myths that surround wolves; little red riding hood has a lot to answer for."

The wolves at Highland Wildlife Park are European wolves and are found throughout Scandinavia, and pockets of Southern and Eastern Europe and Western Russia.

The European wolf is one of the subspecies of grey wolf, a species that was once found across all of Europe, most of Asia and all of North America.

Wolves were once the world's most widely distributed mammal, found throughout the northern hemisphere but nowadays are much more restricted and have diminished as a result of hunting and trapping for fur, as well as habitat loss and fragmentation.

Wolves once roamed freely in Scotland but were hunted to extinction by the 1740s.

The recovery of European wolf populations began after the 1950s when they became less heavily persecuted, and by the 1980s small wolf populations began to grow and reoccupy parts of their historic range.

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