Brother-sister pair of maned wolves now call Gulf Breeze Zoo home

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GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — Gulf Breeze Zoo now has two new resident animals — a sibling pair of maned wolves named Stella and Cieza.

The nearly 3-year-old brother and sister pair arrived at the zoo in mid-October and are settling into their new home quite well, according to the zoo. Guests to the park can now view them in their newly-constructed, custom-designed exhibit.

Gulf Breeze Zoo

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conversation Biology Institue, the conversation status of the maned wolf is “near threatened.” Maned wolves typically have a lifespan from 6½ years to 12-15 years.

“As representatives of their declining South American canine species, Stella and Cieza will play vital roles in protecting the future of maned wolves from their new habitat in Northwest Florida,” Gulf Breeze Zoo said in a press release.

Maned wolves are the largest canine species in South America, standing close to three feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 60 pounds. Their markings resemble those of foxes, but they are neither a fox nor a wolf. Instead, genetic studies show that the maned wolf is a distinct species. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon, meaning “golden dog.” Their impressive red coat, large ears, and stilt-like legs are adaptations for living in central South America’s grasslands and scrub forest, from Brazil to the dry-shrub forests of Paraguay and northern Argentina.
Gentle and timid in nature, maned wolves are primarily solitary in the wild, although a breeding pair usually remains monogamous and shares the same territory. Maned wolves are listed as near-threatened due to loss of habitat by encroaching human populations, the introduction of certain diseases, and poaching for their body parts believed to have medicinal healing powers.

Gulf Breeze Zoo

Gulf Breeze Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last admission is at 3 p.m.). Click here for ticket prices.

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