Saturday afternoon, April 8, Timber began spending long stretches in her den on the island in the main enclosure. During Howl Night, the staff rowed to the island to check on her and confirmed Timber was in labor. Sometime later, the waiting group was rewarded with the cries of newborn puppies. Park manager, Dana, entered the den and shot a brief camera video of Timber in which the puppies’ squeaks could be heard. She was not able to see any puppies.
Timber was willing to have the staff visit on Sunday, but by Monday she’d made it clear she wanted to be alone with her pups. She received a long visit from Wotan on Tuesday. She was happy to see him and took a brief break from puppy care, then returned to the babies.
We can confirm there are at least two puppies but we won’t know anything more until the pups are removed for hand-raising. Stay tuned for updates!
Who is the father?
Either Wotan or Wolfgang, or possibly both! They both mated with her within the same window of time. We won’t know for sure unless we do DNA tests.
The pups are crying in the video. Is Timber squishing them?
Newborn wolves are very loud. We could hear them from outside the den. They even squeak while they nurse. Some of those noises are happy sounds, despite sounding like crying. Timber knows what she is doing and won’t crush her babies.
When can we see the puppies?
Once the pups are given over to their human parents, they will be kept inside the Animal Care Center for the first few weeks. This is when pups are normally in the den so they aren’t yet prepared to handle the outside world. This is the time they are most likely to get sick, so we will limit visitors until they are older. At six weeks, the pups will begin exploring their outside enclosure, at which point they will sometimes be available for viewing.
Why do you take them away from their mother?
Wolf pups left with their parents will not view humans as part of their social circle. They will grow up fearful of humans and often stressed in a captive situation. Since our wolves live surrounded by humans and wolves, we want them to be calm and comfortable with both species. Their human parents will raise them for their first three months. They will be given many opportunities to visit their parents and the Park’s other wolves. Once they are comfortably bonded with both species, they will be returned to their parents.
Will you keep all the puppies?
That will depend on how many pups Timber has and what homes are available. We are very particular which facilities become our pups’ forever homes. Certainly some of Timber’s pups will stay with us their entire lives.
Are the puppies safe at Wolf Park? A lot of people don’t like wolves.
Wolf Park is a sanctuary. The wolves are protected here. We have good relationships with our neighbors. Remember, we are in Indiana. Wolves have been extinct in the wild here for a long time. People in this area don’t have strong negative feelings about wolves.
How many are in the litter? What are their genders? What will you name them?
Answers to these queries will have to wait until we see the pups. Stay tuned for more information!