West Palm Beach, FL – Lion Country Safari is hosting zoological professionals from across the country on May 29th and 30th for the annual maned wolf conference. Experts representing some of the top facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will be sharing conservation and husbandry expertise during the workshop, as well as discussing maned wolf pairings for the Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation program. While Lion Country Safari does not currently have maned wolves in their care, Lion Country Safari’s Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Hammond, is the Veterinarian Advisor for the Maned Wolf SSP.
The AZA’s Species Survival Plan program is a long-term, collective management plan that seeks to maintain genetic diversity in threatened and endangered species. Maned wolves are currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, largely as a result of habitat loss and deforestation in South America. The maned wolf meeting will plan pairings for the maned wolves to ensure the most genetic diversity in the population of approximately 80 individuals across 31 institutions.
The maned wolf is a canid species native to South America that is neither a wolf nor a fox, though it resembles both. It has long reddish fur, long legs and large ears. Its name derives from the black hair along the back of its neck (mane). It is unique because it is an omnivore and eats 50% fruits and vegetables and 50% animal matter in the wild.