SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • ‘babysitting’behaviour;
  • cubs;
  • enclosure;
  • interactions;
  • maned wolf;
  • paternal behaviour;
  • parental care;
  • play;
  • rearing;
  • reproduction

It has been suggested that the ♂ Maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus (Canidae) never participates in the rearing of his young. Furthermore, it has also been indicated that the ♂ is aggressive towards his cubs, which, in captivity, may drastically reduce their life span. This study seeks to clarify the role of the ♂ and the interaction between members of a family group, from observations of an adult pair and their 1.2 cubs, kept together during the parental-care period at Fundação Zoo-Botânica de Belo Horizonte. This paper reports on the results of a 100 day study of the three Maned wolf cubs, born in June 1997, living with their parents in an enclosure that was open to the public. Scan methodology with a 1 minute interval was used for three consecutive hours a day. The results show that the ♂ kept away from the litter for the first 10 days after birth, however, gradually he started getting closer to the cubs until finally on the day 20 he ended up staying with them longer than the ♀ The adult ♂ played with the cubs, licked them and rested with them, demonstrating what the literature has termed‘babysitting’behaviour. Such results reinforce the idea that the ♂ would probably be present and involved with the care of the cubs. This ♂ presence may prove important in order to make the family more relaxed, which, in turn, may reduce aggressive interactions within the group.