Leyla is only three years old, but already a good mother. It’s not just the team that’s happy Wildpark Alte Fasanerie in Klein-Auheim, but also the visitors. With a bit of luck, you can witness how the European gray wolf caresses and cares for her puppies, which are only a few weeks old. Her father, gray wolf Romulus, and his brother Remus stand by her side. According to wildlife biologist Marion Ebel, wildlife park visitors have a clear view of the enclosure from a raised hill.
The little ones have been leaving their birth cave for a few days now and romping around on the site. They are quite daring. So Ebel observed how three of the drifters ventured too close to the bank of the pond in the enclosure and fell into the water. Despite their small size, wolf cubs can swim at this age. But the three paddled around in the water quite helplessly because they couldn’t get back on land. The parents were asked. They had paid attention and carefully fished their offspring out of the water with their mouths.
Ebel also reports that the two carry their offspring through the enclosure and into a cave when they get bored with the activities of the little ones. Since the five puppies were born in early May, they have made tremendous progress. According to Ebel, when they are born in a cave or hole in the ground that the wolves often dig themselves, the pups are still blind and spend the day suckling and sleeping. After about ten days they open their eyes for the first time, and after three weeks they see daylight for the first time. Usually they are then carried outside by the mother to get to know the world. That was also the case in the wildlife park. Wolves care for and raise their young more carefully than almost any other animal, says Ebel. Leyla and Romulus are caring and tender parents.
Even a separate enclosure didn’t help
With everything that Leyla has already experienced in her young life, this is not a matter of course. When she came to the Alte Fasanerie in 2020, she was supposed to form a pack with the brothers Gunter, Richard and Tristan. But nothing came of it, because one of them did not get along with Leyla and injured her with bites. However, Leyla became friends with Siegfried, so the two wolves were placed in a separate enclosure. But it wasn’t long before Siegfried died unexpectedly from an unknown cause. He was found dead by the water trough. A similar fate had befallen the wolf, who had previously been Leyla’s companion for a while. Now Leyla was alone in an enclosure in the wildlife park.
Since it hadn’t worked out with the adult wolves, Ebel tried it with two young animals. She got two little wolves from a zoo on the Edersee. That was Romulus and Remus. Leyla took care of the two as if she were their mother. As the young wolves grew, a close bond was formed between Leyla and Romulus. Tensions arose between Leyla and foster son Remus. Especially when eating, Leyla really enslaved Remus, Ebel remembers. Those times are over now, and all signs point to harmony in the wolf’s enclosure. Ebel is certain that Romulus is the father of the five wolf children. Leyla and Remus have now ended their arguments. Remus took on a kind of godparent role and keeps a watchful eye on the offspring.
How it goes on with the wolves is largely mapped out
The vet will come in a few days to examine and vaccinate the little ones. Their gender is also determined. Ebel especially wants male offspring, because the females caused much more stress than the males. Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain, the little family will only be together for about six more weeks. Ebel plans to bring two wolves, males if possible, together with Gunter, who now lives as a loner in an enclosure. He shouldn’t stay alone any longer. Two more young animals, preferably also male, are to be given to a zoo that has expressed an interest. A cub, however, should stay with its parents and Remus in the long term. If it’s a female, it would need to be spayed, as will the two cubs that will be paired with Gunter. Because the flock of gray wolves in the Alte Fasanerie should not grow any further for the time being, according to Ebel.
Fate could throw a spanner in the works for all these plans, because the gray wolves are always good for surprises. It remains exciting in the wolf’s enclosure, even when it comes to the question of which names from the Nibelungen saga the offspring will be given. Of course, this can only be decided after the vet visit.