Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Star-crossed wolves produce litter of seven

Incredible footage just broadcast in the Italian media reveals that the celebrity wolves Slavc and Juliet have just had a litter of seven cubs.

On 1 March 2012, a camera trap set by a hunter in a remote valley in the Dolomites in Italy captured footage of a wolf. 

A she-wolf adopts a classic female canid posture to urinate. This is Juliet in March 2012, captured on a camera trap set by a local hunter

From the wolf’s posture during urination (in the first seconds of the clip), it appeared to be a she-wolf. This was exciting for two reasons. One: it was the first clear evidence in almost 100 years that a female wolf had entered the region. Two: a radiocollared he-wolf from Slovenia had crossed the Austrian Alps in mid-winter, entered Italy and was heading in the female’s direction. Alessandro Brugnoli (wildlife manager for theTrentino Hunters’ Association) sent a copy of the she-wolf footage to Hubert Potočnik, the Slovenian biologist tracking Slavc’s movements (whose work you can read about in more detail in my last post). “There were some jokes and “bets” over when Slavc would “meet” his bride,” recalls Potočnik.

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