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SSP/TAG:             Maned wolf SSP                                                        DATE: April 2004



Name:               Robyn Barbiers, DVM                          

Address:             Lincoln Park Zoo

                        2001 N. Clark St.   

                        Chicago, IL  60614                                                            

Phone:            312-742-7747                                          

Fax:                 312-742-2211



Name:             Elizabeth Hammond, DVM

Address:              Audubon Zoo

6500 Magazine St

New Orleans, LA 70118

Phone:             (504) 212-5247

Fax:                 (504) 861-6164



Name:             Mitchell Bush, DVM

Address:            NZP Conservation and Research Center

                        1500 Remount Rd.

                        Front Royal, VA  22630

Phone             (540) 635 6523 ext 221

Fax:                 (540) 635 6551




MORBIDITY (Significant illnesses/issues facing this species this year):

No significant problems.  Metronidazole toxicity was reported in two animals.






MORTALITY (Causes of death in this year): Deaths from 1 July 03- 15 April 04

Cause of Death                                                  SB #               Sex                 Age

No report                                                                    1635               M                     10 yrs

Also 5 pups less than 2 d. old






BIRTHS:  For 2002

Males: 11                    Females: 15                         Unknown: 11

Number of pairs recommended for breeding: 25 

Number of pairs bred: 23

Number of births: 14 litters (11.15.13) produced, 10.14 survived

            MALES:  mother or parent-reared:            10                    hand-reared: 0

            FEMALES: mother or parent-reared:            13                    hand-reared: 1


For 2003

Number of pairs recommended for breeding:  12

As of April 1, 2004 – 4 litters (5.3.3) born, 3.3 surviving in 2 litters; (2.1 being hand-reared)


ANESTHESTIC PROTCOLS (Please list successful and unsuccessful protocols): no new protocols to report





VACCINE RECOMMENDATIONS (Vaccine reactions, new vaccines to be considered):

No new recommendations.

Titer information from two pups:



Killed Parvo

Distemper Pox vector

Parvo Titer IgG

Distemper Titer IgG

Pup 102390

Pup 102391

Pup 102390

Pup 102391

6 wk

28 Apr 03

28 Apr 03





9 wk

19 May 03

19 May 03





12 wk

9 Jun 03

9 Jun 03





15 wk

30 Jun 03

30 Jun 03





27 wk


24 Sep 03


< 1:5


< 1:5

31 wk

21 Oct 03






49 wk

23 Feb 04

23 Feb 04



< 1:5





CONTRACEPTION (Methods used, successes, failures):

Separation most commonly used during breeding season.






ACTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS: Prioritized project list from 3 year action plan of July 2003:

1.      Understanding Reproductive Physiology of Maned Wolves for Enhanced Management and Conservation.  Principal Investigator:  Dr. Nucharin Songsasen

Summary:  Establish basic reproductive and endocrine traits for the maned wolf through a 3-part study.  a) determine the reproductive endocrine cycle of females; b) study sperm biology, sperm cryopreservation, and the relationship between androgenic hormones and seminal characteristics; and c) determine the role of chronic stress in reproduction by comparing ovarian and adrenal fecal steroid patterns in breeding vs. non-breeding individuals, in conjunction with an analysis of reproductive behavior and husbandry factors.



2.      Health Evaluation of Maned Wolves in Parque Nacional Noël Kempff Mercado, Bolivia.  Principal Investigator: Dr. Louise Emmons, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  Co-Investigators: Dr. Sharon Deem and Dr. Kati Loeffler, Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

Summary:  The proposal is one component of a larger study examining habitat use, reproduction, genetic diversity, population size, and health of maned wolves in the PNNKM.  Goals of the health component are a) evaluate the conservation potential of maned wolves in the PNNKM by studying the health of captured animals, and b) evaluate the potential threat of diseases spread from local domestic carnivores and sympatric wild canids to maned wolves.


3.      Conservation of the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in the Brazilian Cerrado: Ecological, Behavioral, Epidemiological, and Reproductive Aspects.  Principal Investigators: Flávio H.G. Rodrigues and Rogério C. de Paula, Associação Procarnívoros; Ronaldo G. Morato, CENAP; Eduardo Eizirik, NIH/NCI.

Summary:  The overall objective of this large-scale study is to examine the biology, ecology, reproduction, genetic variability, and epidemiology  of maned wolves living in areas of the Serra da Canastra National Park where human and domestic animal disturbance in the form of farming, ranching and tourism is common compared to populations living in remote, undisturbed areas of the park.  The ultimate goal is to establish a conservation action plan for the species to be applied throughout the cerrado, where similar patterns of human occupation and development impact wildlife populations. 


4.   Genetic Variability of the Maned Wolf   Principal Investigators:  Susana Gonzalez, Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay, Uruguay; Jesús Maldonado, Smithsonian Molecular Genetics Lab.   Co-Investigators: Marcelo Beccaceci, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; Melissa Rodden, Smithsonian National Zoological Park

      Summary:  Mitochondrial DNA analysis will be used to characterize the genetic variability of maned wolves from Argentina.  Additional samples from animals captured in Bolivia and from captive animals originally from Brazil will be analyzed to serve as an outgroup reference.  Phylogenetic studies of the control region and cytochrome b sequences will allow us to elucidate the degree of population structure, phylogeographic partitioning, and the presence of phylogenetic gaps that may exist between some of these allopatric populations.  Our results will help determine if these populations are significantly differentiated and if they have had a relatively independent evolutionary history from one another.  (NOTE: MWSSP provided $5000 in support for this project in 2001)



5.   The Genetic Characterization of Cystinuria in Maned Wolves   Principal Investigators:  Dr. Paula Henthorn and James Kehler, Univ. Pennsylvania  School of Vet. Medicine.

      Summary:  Cystinuria is an autosomal recessive disease found commonly in maned wolves.  The objective of the study is to establish the mode of inheritance of cystinuria in maned wolves and ultimately to develop a diagnostic genetic test capable of detecting affected animals.  Such a test could aid zoological parks in initiating preventive treatments and in possibly eliminating transmission of cystinuria in managed breeding programs. 






NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS: No new recommendations. Current recommendations are chicken based, good quality commercial dog food as base. Ullrey, Allen, and Griffin working on new highly digestible formulation to increase protein and address urinary pH through acid/base balance – no update on status.









NEW SSP/TAG PROTOCOLS: Husbandry manual being revised.








INFORMATION FROM THE FIELD and other research updates:

1)  Brazil Field Project

            PIs Rogerio Cunha and Flavio Rodrigues have begun work in Serra da Canastra National Park on the project titled “Conservation of Maned Wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in Brazilian Cerrado”.   They recently received a large grant from a Brazilian agency and are seeking additional funds from various international granting agencies as well as some of the AZA zoo-based conservation funds.  This is a multi-disciplinary study with the ultimate goal of establishing a conservation action plan for maned wolves in Serra da Canastra, which can then be used as a template for similar action plans throughout the remaining cerrado habitat in Brazil. 

  • Two zoos in the Maned Wolf SSP have provided financial support to this project:  Little Rock Zoo contributed $900 last fall and has committed another $250 in 2004.  NZP-CRC donated $480 last year. 
  • The project has been expanded to include a reproductive physiology component and CRC gamete biologist Nucharin Songsasen will be participating.  Nuch traveled to Brazil last October and visited Canastra with Rogerio Cunha to begin preparations for capturing animals and collecting data.


2)  Captive Projects


Those of you who were able to attend the AZA conference last September heard Nucharin present a summary of the initial results of the endocrine work she began in 2002.  Nucharin added a new component to the endocrine study this year; examining stress as measured by fecal cortisosteroids.  Morris Animal Foundation is funding this part of the study.


Through CRC’s partnership with Associacion Pro-Carnivoros,  Nucharin is now collaborating with colleagues in Brazil and has added 6 Brazilian zoos to the study! 


Here is an update from Nucharin on her project “Understanding Reproductive Physiology of Maned Wolves for Enhanced Management and Conservation”:


Captive population:  A total of 18 institutions (12 in North America and 6 in Brazil) participate in this study.  The objectives of this study are to 1) characterize the reproductive physiology of maned wolves in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, 2) determine the level of stress hormone in captive maned wolves housed under various management conditions, and 3) determine the relationship between reproductive and stress hormones, as well as between management conditions and gonadal and stress hormones.

During the 2002 breeding season, we obtained fecal samples from a total of 11 males and 13 females maintained at 6 institutions.  Characterization of metabolites of gonadal hormones was conducted.  For males, we found that there appears to be a temporal change in concentration of testosterone metabolites during the breeding season (low at the beginning and the end of the breeding season); and this seems to be correlated with sperm cell concentration.   However, analysis of testosterone concentration during the non-breeding season still needs to be performed.  During Summer 2003, we performed electroejaculation from 3 maned wolves, 2 of which did not produce any sperm; we obtained very few sperm from the third wolf.  Based on this observation, we expect that testosterone concentration during the non-breeding season may be significant lower than that during the breeding season, and this affects the process of spermatogenesis.

For females, we analyzed fecal metabolites of estrogen and progesterone.  As shown by Velloso et al. (1991), the pattern of gonadal hormones in female maned wolves is similar to other canids; a peak of estrogen followed by increasing concentrations of progesterone during the estrus period.  Maned wolves also exhibit pseudopregnancy after infertile breeding.  Interestingly, we found that progesterone levels of females housed alone remain at baseline level, although estrogen profiles show evidence of ovarian activity.  This suggests that female maned wolves may require the presence of males for ovulation to occur.  This observation is similar to that reported by Cheryl Asa on Island foxes.

During the 2003 breeding season, we obtained fecal samples from 7 additional females housed at 6 additional institutions in the Maned Wolf SSP.  The samples will be sent to CRC for analysis of estrogen, progesterone and cortisol.  We also started a collaborative project with Associacion Pró-carnívoros in Brazil, and have currently recruited 6 zoos in Brazil to participate in this project.  This collaboration will continue to expand, and we expect to recruit a total of 30 wolves (15.15) for our studies.

Recently, Dawn Cummings has begun a 3-month internship with Nucharin at CRC.  Dawn has a background in animal behavior.  She has initiated a pilot study to determine influences of two types of enrichment (introduction of novel object and control over the environment, e.g. hidden food items) on behavior and physiology of maned wolves.  The results of this study will help to answer two questions: 1) do maned wolves respond favorably to these enrichment options, and 2) are the strategies of novel objects versus control over the environment comparable in their effects on wolf behavior and hormone levels.


Free-ranging population: Nucharin visited Serra da Canastra National Park, Brazil last October and has initiated a multidisciplinary and collaborative project with Associacion Pró-carnívoros aiming to study the effect of human activity on survival of free-living maned wolves.  The specific objectives of this study are to: 1) determine habitat quality and home range of maned wolf populations using GIS analysis, and 2) conduct a biomedical survey (health and reproductive status) and compare the epidemiological risks of maned wolves living on the perimeter of the park (i.e. high levels of human activity) to those living in park (i.e. low levels of human activity).  The outcome of this study will allow us to predict conservation outcomes on the basis of current human activity and habitat conversion rates, and allow us to establish an effective conservation plan for maned wolves living in the Brazilian cerrado.  Although our Brazilian collaborators have secured funding for habitat and home range analysis, we are still seeking funding for biomedical surveys and hormone monitoring of free-living maned wolves.


3)  Bolivia Field Project


Wildlife biologist Dr. Louise Emmons (Smithsonian Natural History Museum), NZP veterinarian Dr. Sharon Deem, and Dr. Kati Leoffler,  NZP post-doctoral fellow specializing in infectious disease, have begun a project titled “Health Evaluation of Maned Wolves in Parque Nacional Noël Kempff Mercado, Bolivia”.  This is part of a larger ongoing study examining habitat use, reproduction, genetic diversity, population size, and health of maned wolves in this large national park located in eastern Bolivia.  The overall goals for the health component of the project are 1) to evaluate the conservation potential of maned wolves in the park by study of their health, and 2) to evaluate the potential threat of diseases spread from local domestic carnivores and sympatric crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) to maned wolves. Louise Emmons began radio-collaring maned wolves in PNNKM in 2000 and has followed several individuals.  Biological samples collected from captured maned wolves have shown exposure to canine diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus, as well as canine heartworm and giant kidney worm infections.  Numerous small villages with domestic livestock and dogs border the park, and there is a dense population of crab-eating foxes in and around the park.  Information on the diseases of maned wolves and the disease epidemiology in neighboring domestic dogs and foxes will help to develop effective conservation management strategies and preventive health programs for domestic animals.





1: Protein Pept Lett. 2003 Dec;10(6):551-9.


Crystal structure of hemoglobin from the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) using synchrotron radiation.

Fadel V, Canduri F, Olivieri JR, Smarra AL, Colombo MF, Bonilla-Rodriguez GO, de Azevedo WF Jr.

Departamento de Fisica-IBILCE-UNESP. CEP 15054-000, Sao Jose do Rio Preto, SP, Brazil.

Crystal structure of hemoglobin isolated from the Brazilian maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) was determined using standard molecular replacement technique and refined using maximum-likelihood and simulated annealing protocols to 1.87A resolution. Structural and functional comparisons between hemoglobins from the Chrysocyon brachyurus and Homo sapiens are discussed, in order to provide further insights in the comparative biochemistry of vertebrate hemoglobins.



2.  J Zoo Wildl Med. 2001 Mar;32(1):78-80.


Serologic response of maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) to canine and canine parvovirus vaccination distemper virus.

Maia OB, Gouveia AM.

Departamento de Medicina Veterinaria Preventiva, Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Caixa Postal 567, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 30123-970.

This study evaluated the immune response of 47 (22 males, 25 females) captive maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) to modified-live canine parvovirus and canine distemper virus (Onderstepoort and Rockborn strains) vaccines. Sera were collected from 33 adults and 14 pups, including five free-ranging pups captured at 1 yr of age or younger. All the adults and four captive-born pups had been vaccinated prior to this first blood collection. Virus neutralization and hemagglutination-inhibition assays were performed for quantitating antibodies against canine distemper and canine parvovirus, respectively. Distemper antibody titers > or = 100 were present in 57% of adults and 14% of pups. All adults and 29% of pups had parvovirus antibody titers > or = 80. After vaccination, 72% of the wolves developed antibody titers > or = 100 against distemper and 98% developed titers > or = 80 against parvovirus. Both vaccines used were safe and immunogenic to juvenile and adult maned wolves, regardless of prior vaccination history.



3. Braz J Biol. 2002 Feb;62(1):25-32.


Birth and mortality of maned wolves Chrysocyon brachyurus (Illiger, 1811) in captivity.

Maia OB, Gouveia AM.

Laboratorio de Virologia Animal, Departamento de Medicina Veterinaria Preventiva, C.P. 567, CEP 30123-970, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The aims of this study were to verify the distribution of births of captive maned wolves Chrysocyon brachyurus and the causes of their deaths during the period from 1980 to 1998, based on the registry of births and deaths in the International Studbook for Maned Wolves. To determine birth distribution and average litter size, 361 parturitions were analyzed for the 1989-98 period. To analyze causes of mortality, the animals were divided into four groups: 1. pups born in captivity that died prior to one year of age; 2. animals born in captivity that died at more than one year of age; 3. animals captured in the wild that died at any age; and 4. all animals that died during the 1980-98 period. In group 1, the main causes of mortality were parental incompetence (67%), infectious diseases, (9%) and digestive system disorders (5%). The average mortality rate for pups was 56%. Parental incompetence was responsible for 95% of pup deaths during the first week of life. In group 2, the main causes were euthanasia (18%) and disorders of the genitourinary (10%) and digestive systems (8%). Euthanasia was implemented due to senility, congenital disorders, degenerative diseases, and trauma. In group 3, the main causes were digestive system disorders (12%), infectious diseases (10%), and lesions or accidents (10%). The main causes of mortality of maned wolves in captivity (group 4) were parental incompetence (38%), infectious diseases (9%), and digestive system disorders (7%).


4. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2002 Jun;97(4):509-10.

Capillariidae eggs found in the urine of a free ranging maned wolf from Argentina.

Beldomenico PM, Hunzicker D, Lopez Taverna J, Rejf PK.

Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina.

The first finding of a Capillariid in the urinary tract of a free ranging maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is described. The individual was an adult male attacked by dogs in the locality of Cayastacito (Santa Fe, Argentina, 31 degrees 05' S, 60 degrees 34' W). Eggs found in urine measured 64.6-66.9 micrometer (mean 65.4 micrometer) x 26.9-31 micrometer (mean 29 micrometer). Further studies are needed to determine whether this finding corresponds to a new Capillariid species, related to C. brachyurus, or it is an already described species that has been introduced by domestic dogs.

5. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2001 Jan;128(1):155-65.


Serum concentrations of vitamin D metabolites, vitamins A and E, and carotenoids in six canid and four ursid species at four zoos.

Crissey S, Ange K, Slifka K, Bowen P, Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Langman C, Sadler W, Ward A.

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Conservation Biology and Research Center, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo, IL 60513, USA.

Nutritional status for six captive canid species (n=34) and four captive ursid species (n=18) were analyzed. The species analyzed included: African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baleiyi), red wolf (Canis rufus), brown bear (Ursus arctos), polar bear (Ursus maritimus), spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and sun bear (Ursus malayanus). Diet information was collected for these animals from each participating zoo (Brookfield Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and North Carolina Zoological Park). The nutritional composition of the diet for each species at each institution met probable dietary requirements. Blood samples were collected from each animal and analyzed for vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)(2)D, vitamin A (retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol) and selected carotenoids. Family differences were found for 25(OH)D, retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate and gamma-tocopherol. Species differences were found for all detectable measurements. Carotenoids were not detected in any species. The large number of animals contributing to these data, provides a substantial base for comparing the nutritional status of healthy animals and the differences among them.


6. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2000 Sep;31(3):394-9.


Treatment of fibrosarcoma in a maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) by rostral maxillectomy.

McNulty EE, Gilson SD, Houser BS, Ouse A.

Brown Road Animal Clinic, Mesa, Arizona 85205, USA.

A 12-yr-old captive intact male maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) was diagnosed with a fibrosarcoma of the incisive bones. The mass was excised by rostral maxillectomy, and the wolf remained normal and on display with good function and cosmetics for 7 mo. Subsequently, it became weak, ataxic, and dyspneic and was euthanatized. At necropsy, there was a small regrowth of the maxillary tumor, a metastatic mediastinal mass, and multiple metastatic lung masses, suggesting that oral fibrosarcoma in maned wolves behaves similarly to oral fibrosarcoma in domestic canines. Aggressive surgical treatment of oral fibrosarcoma in this species can achieve good functional and cosmetic results.


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