A week in the forest - spring is becoming summerly

Photographed and written by Marko Kübarsepp
A rather typical wolf-den - bushy old clearing, poor visibility and a couple of broken spruces which provided protective shelter for the birth of five wolf pups in the summer of 2008.
Soomaa national park, May 2008.
Nature is going through a time of spectacular transformation. The shoots of deciduous trees are visibly growing. Days and nights are both warmer than usual, thundershowers with rain and even hail have been quite intense at times.
By the last week of May, wolf pups will be a couple of weeks old. Newborn wolf pups normally weigh between 800 and 1200 grams. Already at birth, male animals are a bit larger than females. Birth weight of the offspring naturally depends on heredity and also food base. Also, in litters which are larger than average (6...8 pups) the birth weight of the offspring is significantly smaller than in average litters (4...5 pups).
For the first couple of weeks the newborns are rather helpless and very much look like German Shepherd`s pups and depend solely on the steady body temperature of the mother. This only allows the female to travel to a stream somewhere nearby to quench her thirst and then return to the pups. Two-three weeks after the birth of the pups most female wolves take their offspring to a new den, which is normally located within a half of a kilometer from the birthplace.




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