The US state of Colorado has confirmed the birth of the first litter of wolf pups for almost 80 years.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported that pups born to collared wolves M2101 (nicknamed John) and F1084 (Jane) have ben spotted this month.
It's thought there are three wolf pups although, because they are viewed at distance to protect, the animals there would be more.
A wildlife biologist, Libbie Miller, at the park said: “We are continuing to actively monitor this den site while exercising extreme caution so as not to inadvertently jeopardise the potential survival of these pups.
“Our hope is that we will eventually have photos to document this momentous occasion in Colorado’s incredible and diverse wildlife history, but not bothering them remains a paramount concern.”
Jane is female not male!
There is an extra twist to the news about the wolf pups: While it had been thought that F1084 was male it turns out she is female.
"Jane" was born in Wyoming’s Snake River pack before migrating into Colorado.
It was while observers were watching Jane creating a den that they realised her gender.
Colorado plans to bring back wolves
Colorado is currently in the planning stages for a state-led wolf reintroduction programme.
Voters in the state last year narrowly approved a resolution instructing Colorado Parks and Wildlife to start to release the predators.
Researchers believe that while some wolves have naturally arrived in Colorado, for long-term survival of wolves there needs to be a more effective scheme.
Governor Jared Polis said: "Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s. We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado.
“With voter passage last year of the initiative to require re-introduction of the wolf by the end of 2023, these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families.”
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.