Coauthor Irina Rotenko
From the post about the outstanding reproductive behaviour of one model wolf pack that is leading by quite old experienced female that we call as Torn Ear, perhaps, you already got to know that during this warm season i.e. in May-July 2020 we traced a very interesting breeding situation in this wolf group.
We already registered that this year in the Torn Ear pack three females bred, and each mother was served by a separate adult male. It means that in this wolf pack there are three semi-independent breeding couples. In May-July the pups of three families stayed nearby at the distance up to 3 km away from each other, usually only 0.3-1.8 km apart. All the adult males we registered in the close proximity to each of the three litters. Also, two of the mothers with evident nipples (Torn Ear and another one) were registered nearby to each other for several times, too. However, still any visible cooperation there was not documented.
Recently we filmed (took many videos by a cameratrap) how two mothers and two their males in turn or in pairs were preparing a burrow-den by enlarging a former red fox earth; then they checked once and again the created burrow-den during several days; then one of the couples brought about their five quite big pups to the den. This recognisable wolf couple are called as Pryhazhun (the male, it means beautiful one) and Pryhazhunikha (his mate).
Actually the scenario was as follows. On 10th July at about 6am Pryhazhunikha started enlarging the red fox earth (it also was sometimes used by badger). Then on 13th July at about 7am Pryhazhun checked the burrow. On 20th July at about 4-30am Pryhazhunikha checked the burrow. In ten minutes Pryhazhyn did the same twice with some span between checking. Just after the second Pryhazhun’s checking Pryhazhunikha checked the burrow again. Then in 20 minutes Torn Ear female (she is a mother as well) enlarged the burrow for 10 minutes. When she finished, Pryhazhun (not her mate) immediately checked her work. Then the same morning on 20th July starting of at 7-45am Pryhazhunikha and another male (mate of Torn Ear that we call Chornaja Paska) dug the burrow in turn. Then at 9-45am Pryhazhunikha dug there again. Finally on 23rd July at about 7anm Pryhazhunikha checked the ready burrow-den and in two hours she took five pups there.
The pups spent in that burrow-den two days only and then they were relocated by parents for about one km in a marshland with a stretched island, where we put several camera-traps. So, hopefully, there will be a continuation of the story.
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Thanks for all the hard work in bringing this interesting blog to us here in the UK