BROOKFIELD, Ill. (FOX 32 News) - Three of the five Mexican gray wolf pups born last month at the Brookfield Zoo are emerging from their den.
The three unnamed puppies - one female and two males - are now a month old and have begun to venture out on their own. Until recently, they had been in their den being nurtured by the pack.
The other two pups, Blaze and Brooke, were shipped to Arizona two weeks ago to be placed with a wild wolf pack.
The addition of the three puppies represents the largest Mexican gray wolf pack that has resided at Brookfield Zoo since the arrival of this endangered subspecies in 2003. In addition to the parents, Zana and Flint, and their new additions, the pack includes the adult pair’s four yearlings born in 2015.
"The current pack at the zoo mimics those in the wild," said Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals. "Wolves have a very complex social structure, and we are excited that guests will be able to get a firsthand look at the interactions among all the animals."
Some behaviors that zoogoers may witness are the yearlings helping their parents in caring for their younger siblings by regurgitating food for them once they are weaned at around 6 to 8 weeks of age.
In addition, guests may hear a variety of vocalizations—howls, yips, squeals, or growls—made by the wolves when communicating with one another. Other forms of communication that may be witnessed include facial expressions and body postures—used to indicate that one wolf is showing dominance over another, play behaviors, and licking, which is a greeting gesture.
Zoo guests are able to see them in their habitat at the zoo's Regenstein Wolf Woods.