Lee Richardson Zoo announces the arrival of its newest resident, Lelah, a maned wolf. Lelah comes to Garden City from the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan.
Lelah and Diaz, LRZ’s male maned wolf, are part of the Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperatively managed program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSP’s oversee the population management among participating facilities while working to enhance conservation of the species in the wild through a variety of conservation, research, husbandry, management, and educational initiatives. SSP’s work to maximize genetic diversity and appropriately manage the demographic distribution of the species for long-term sustainability. To benefit the maned wolf population, the pair has a breeding recommendation. The chances of maned wolf pups are a bit lower with Lelah and Diaz though, because of Diaz’s age.
Maned wolves come from the grasslands and scrub forest of South America and are listed as near threatened. Loss of habitat due to agriculture is their main problem. They are also hunted for their body parts, which some believe have magical properties. Maned wolves are sometimes called ‘foxes on stilts’ as they bear a resemblance to red foxes perched upon very long legs. Maned wolf adults stand 35 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 51 pounds. Their long legs help them see over the tall grass and brush found in their native habitats.