Lobos of the Southwest

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Springtime is puppy time

Mexican wolf packs, after spending the winter following herds of elk over long distances, are getting ready to settle down to raise their puppies.

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Wolf PupsThe days are getting warmer in the Mexican wolf recovery area. Snow is melting fast. Fat buds appear on the cottonwood trees in the valleys. Mexican wolf packs, after spending the winter following herds of elk over long distances, are getting ready to settle down to raise their puppies. Most lobo pups are born between the middle of April and the middle of May.

There may be at least one new pack of lobos this year. A two-year-old male from the Hawk’s Nest Pack in Arizona left his old pack in February. For the past six weeks M1155 has been found with a female wolf in New Mexico. She is three-year-old F1106. The field team hasn’t yet called this pair a pack or given them a pack name, but it seems likely they may stay together and raise a family.

Mexican wolf mothers give birth to their puppies in a den, which may be a hole among some rocks or a burrow dug into the earth under a tree. Dens are usually located within a mile of water, often on a hillside with a good view of any animal or person who approaches.

Newborn lobo puppies can’t see or hear, but they are born knowing how to suck. They grow rapidly on a diet of their mother’s milk. She cleans the little pups and keeps them warm. Because the puppies won’t go outside the den for several weeks after birth, project biologists won’t know for sure which packs have puppies until later in the spring or summer. Follow the Pack will let you know when we find out more about this year’s pups.

(Photo from Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.)