Three Critically Endangered Red Wolf brothers were born on April 20th to mom, Ayita, and dad, Denali at North Carolina Zoo. The pups are also joined by their sisters, Alli and Roan, who were both born last year. Red wolves live in family groups, often with a mother and father and several years of offspring. The pups will remain behind the scenes as a part of the Zoo's red wolf breeding program.
The North Carolina Zoo fills a central role in efforts to save the American red wolf from extinction. Once the southeastern United States’ apex predator, American red wolf populations have declined so dramatically that the species now depends on breeding under human care to maintain a healthy, genetically viable population. By housing the second-largest pack of breeding American red wolves in the world, the Zoo is helping to ensure the survival of this species. The Zoo also plays a coordinating role in the larger Red Wolf Recovery Program that includes 45 other institutional partners. This role involves spearheading landowner outreach in eastern North Carolina where the last 15-30 wild American red wolves live, and searching for a second recovery area where this iconic species can once again fill its rightful place in the wild.
The North Carolina Zoo announces the birth of three litters of critically endangered American red wolves as part of its red wolf breeding program. The litters comprising 12 pups were born during three days from April 28 to April 30. All pups and their mothers are healthy and doing well. This is the first time in the Zoo’s breeding program that three litters were born in one spring.
The newest pups bring the number of red wolves currently in the Zoo's breeding program to 36, making it the second-largest pack in the U.S. after Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.
Only 15-20 red wolves remain in the wild, and they're all in eastern North Carolina. They're considered the most endangered canid in the world.
For the first time in two decades, one of the litters was born on the red wolf public habitat, giving Zoo guests a rare chance to view the pups for a limited time. The pups most likely will be visible starting in mid-June, when they begin to venture outside of the den. The wolf family will be moved to the non-public breeding area when the pups are older and weaned from their mother. The other two litters were born in non-public viewing areas of the Zoo.
The parents of two females born April 28 are Denali (male) and Ayita.
The parents of two males and two females born April 30 are Solo (male) and Taylor.
The parents of six pups – two males and four females born April 30 - are Flint (male) and Sassy. This is the pack born on the public habitat.
The Zoo will be announcing a public naming poll for one of the litters within the next month.
"Congratulations to the North Carolina Zoo for playing an essential part in the survival of this critically endangered species," said Secretary Reid Wilson, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. "These births are important because many of our wolves, once matured, have been moved to other breeding packs to continue to help bring this species back from near extinction. Our hope is that more and more red wolves can soon be placed into the wild."
Once common throughout the southeastern United States, the wolves were driven to near extinction during the late 1960s, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began an aggressive conservation effort – the American Red Wolf Recovery Program – that led to new ways to track and protect the species. Those efforts led to increasing numbers of wild red wolves in eastern North Carolina, but changes in how the recovery program was managed have resulted in the wild population again plummeting in recent years.
The Zoo has been part of the American Red Wolf Recovery Program since 1994. The Zoo's red wolf pack has successfully bred 48 wolves since the program began.
The North Carolina Zoo led the successful efforts to have the American red wolf become part of the Association of Zoo and Aquariums SAFE (Saving Species From Extinction) program.
Under this program, the Zoo leads in conserving the species and growing the wild population and the animals under human care.
After the newest litter of European Wolves began emerging from their den a few weeks ago, keepers at Longleat Safari Park weren’t exactly sure how many pups were in the litter. They eventually determined that parents Eliska and Jango were raising seven pups!
Photo Credit: Longleat Safari Park
Once it was known that pups had been born, the care team allowed the family to bond without any interference from staff. Keepers would occasionally glimpse the pups when Eliska and Jango moved the pups between three separate underground dens in their woodland enclosure.
“As the pups spend their first few weeks underground it makes it very difficult to work out exactly how many there are. Initially we thought there were only five, so to discover there’s actually seven of them was a wonderful bonus,” said Longleat’s team manager for carnivores, Amy Waller.
The pups, which weighed less than a pound when born, are now able to eat small amounts of meat but will not be fully weaned until eight to 10 weeks of age.
This is the second litter born at the Safari Park in the last year and boosts the pack size to 14.
“The pups’ older siblings have also been getting involved with transporting them from den to den but have still not entirely got the hang of holding them the right way up so mum and dad do have to occasionally intervene,” added Amy.
Wolf packs have a highly complex social structure and each individual knows its place in the pack hierarchy. In the wild, wolves depend on cooperation within the pack for survival, both in hunting and in raising offspring.
Wild Wolves were eradicated from most of Western Europe in the 19th century and they have been extinct throughout the United Kingdom for more than 250 years.
Thanks to several Wolf reintroduction programs, the wild Wolf population in Europe is now thought to include 12,000 individuals in 28 countries.
There are established packs in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain and Italy with numbers also on the rise in parts of France and Germany. In 2011, Wolves were also reported in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Now that they’re starting to venture outside the den, the eight endangered Red Wolf pups born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are ready for names!
The pups, who were born May 10, are now known as: Chester, Cypress and Hawthorn for the three boys; Camellia, Magnolia, Myrtle, Peat and Willow for the five girls.
Members of the public overwhelmingly picked the slate of flower, plant and tree names for the puppies. The list of flora was compiled by the zoo’s Red Wolf keepers from among flowers, plants and trees from the wolves’ native range in North Carolina. More than 4,500 people participated in the voting.
Photo Credits: Katie Cotterill
During a recent exam by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Kadie Anderson, the eight healthy pups weighed between 3 and 4 pounds.
“They’re growing fast, and they all appear to be healthy,” Anderson said. “It’s a joy to have them at Point Defiance Zoo and to watch them grow. They are the future of their species.”
If guests of the afternoon keeper chats are fortunate, the pups and mom Charlotte might make an appearance. Whether – and how far – they venture out into their habitat is all up to them, though. Puppy sightings aren’t guaranteed.
“We’ve seem more activity from them over the last week or so,” said Jenn Donovan, the senior staff biologist in the Kids’ Zone/Red Wolf Woods area of the zoo. “Charlotte is being a fantastic mother. She’s been nursing and bonding with them.
“As they become more mobile and independent, she’ll spend less time with them, but will continue to keep a watchful eye on her eight pups,” Donovan added.
North American Red Wolves are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with only about 40 in the wild and just over 250 in zoos and wildlife centers across the nation.
The pups are part of a cooperative effort that helped bring these iconic American animals back from the brink of extinction four decades ago. Point Defiance Zoo has been at the forefront of the program, and these eight pups represent another success in the survival of the Red Wolf species.
These eight pups represent another big step in saving the American Red Wolf. On May 15, the staff gave the tiny pups a hands-on exam. The pups, which include three males and five females, weigh 11 ounces to 13 ounces each – roughly the weight of a can of soda.
The pups’ father hasn’t been introduced to his offspring yet. If he tries to come into the den, Charlotte warns him off with a low growl. Eventually she will allow him to meet the pups. Zoo staff members plan to propose prospective names for the pups and allow fans to cast votes for their favorites.
By the 1970s, only 14 red wolves were all that remained of this species that ranged across the Southeastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Texas. In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Red Wolf biologically extinct in the wild.
Today, some 40 roam the Red Wolf Recovery Area operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in northeastern North Carolina where they were reintroduced to the wild three decades ago. Red Wolves remain one of the most endangered Wolf species on Earth.
The arrival of spring brought a litter of four critically endangered Red Wolf pups to Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo.
“Scientists estimate there are less than 30 Red Wolves left in their native habitat of North Carolina, meaning species is on the very brink of extinction in the wild,” said Curator Dan Boehm. “We could not be more ecstatic for the arrival of these pups to help save this species and bolster the population.”
The pups, two male and two female, were born on April 13. The dam, Becca, and sire, Rhett, were recommended to breed as part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a cooperative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions to save species. This is the first litter for the Zoo since 2010.
Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo
Canine gestation is around 60 days, with litters ranging from 3-6 offspring. The cubs typically stay in the den for the first month as they surpass critical milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and gaining strength. The pups have yet to venture from the den but have received their first veterinary check-ups.
Since 2005, Lincoln Park Zoo has been involved in the Red Wolf Recovery Program to try and assist the wild population with cross fostering of zoo-born pups into wild family groups and other reintroduction efforts. Since that time, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists also conducted a Population Viability Analysis (PVA), a computer model that helped to evaluate different management scenarios for the zoo and wild populations and scientific advice to the Recovery Program. The future status of the North Carolina wild population is uncertain, but the Red Wolf SSP and Lincoln Park Zoo will continue to work toward long-term recovery efforts.
Zoo guests can support the pups and Lincoln Park Zoo in its care and conservation endeavors by purchasing an item from the zoo’s Wish List. Just in time for Mother’s Day, guests can also ADOPT a Red Wolf to support world-class care for Red Wolf, Becca, and her pups all year long.
Red Wolves (Canis lupus rufus) are named for their red-tinged fur and are typically smaller than their ‘cousin’ Grey Wolves, weighing in around 90lbs. Native to the eastern United States, Red Wolves were driven toward extinction due to hunting. The species was targeted as a perceived threat to livestock, but research has shown the wolves primarily pursue non-domestic prey such as rabbits, deer, and small mammals.
Learn more about Lincoln Park Zoo and the Red Wolf pups by visiting: www.lpzoo.org .
ZooTampa at Lowry Park visitors may now be able to see a litter of new Red Wolf puppies, which are the most critically endangered Wolf species in the world!
The successful birth of four Red Wolf pups is an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and they are the first Red Wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Born in late April, in a natural den dug by their mother, Yona, the pups are living much as they would in the wild. A newly designed habitat allows guests to be part of the experience as the pups grow and emerge from their den. Zoo animal care staff and veterinarians have seen the pups snuggled up by Yona’s side, and the zoo team plans checkups for the pups in the coming weeks.
Photo Credits: ZooTampa at Lowry Park
Red Wolves (Canis rufus), the rarest of all Wolf species, are native to Florida and once roamed throughout the Southeast. Today, they are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with only around 200 Red Wolves remaining in zoos and reintroduction areas.
Wolves were hunted by ranchers, to near extinction, for fear they would attack livestock. As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), ZooTampa is helping to ensure the Red Wolf population can continue despite serious threats to those in the wild.
“The birth of these Red Wolf pups represents a significant milestone for this species,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, the Zoo’s Chief Zoological Officer. “The success of this litter is encouraging and represents hope for the future of these incredible animals. Yona is caring for her pups in public view, which shows how comfortable and well cared for she feels.”
In addition to its Red Wolf program, ZooTampa leads in the caring, rescue and rehabilitation of several of Florida’s threatened and endangered animals, including Panthers, Manatees and Key Deer.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of a litter of five Eurasian Wolf cubs – the first to be born at the Park in its 47-year history.
For the first ten days of their lives, the cubs were hidden from sight in one of the underground dens their parents, Ash and Ember, had excavated. One night, after a heavy downpour of rain, Ember took her cubs out of the birthing den and placed them above ground to stay dry. This was the first time anyone had seen the cubs. Both Ember and Ash are devoted first-time parents and keepers are delighted that the youngsters are healthy.
Photo Credit: Jackie Thomas (images 1-6), Cotswold Wildlife Park (images 7-15)
The births were unexpected for the Wolves’ care team. Two-year old male Ash and three-year old female Ember arrived at the zoo just last year, and Wolves normally take a long time to form pair bonds. Additionally, females come into heat only once a year, between January and March.
Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park Jamie Craig said, “Our Wolves are a new pairing and we did not really expect a successful breeding so soon. They have settled well and at present, everything with the adults and cubs is going to plan – we are keeping our fingers crossed that it continues but we have more confidence with every day that passes. The cubs will form an important nucleus to the ‘pack’ for the coming years.”
Wolves generally pair for life. Mating takes place in late winter or early spring. After a gestation period of approximately sixty-two days, the alpha female gives birth to a litter (usually between four and six cubs). At birth, the cubs are blind and deaf and are reliant on their parents for survival. After 11 to 15 days, their eyes open. Cubs develop rapidly under the watchful eye of their mother. At five weeks, the cubs are beginning to wean off their mother’s milk but cannot immediately fend for themselves and require considerable parental care and nourishment.
The Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the largest Wolf subspecies and the largest found outside of the Americas. There are almost 40 Wolf subspecies including Arctic Wolf, Tundra Wolf, critically endangered Red Wolf, Dingo and the domestic Dog.
See more photos and learn more about Eurasian Wolves below.
Two Mexican Gray Wolf pups born at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo swapped places with two wild-born pups in New Mexico as part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Program.
The pups born at Brookfield Zoo are now integrated with a wild Wolf pack in New Mexico, and the wild-born pups are being reared by the zoo’s Wolves. This process, called cross-fostering, maintains genetic diversity in the wild and zoo-dwelling populations of this endangered species.
Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo
In early May, teams from Brookfield Zoo gathered up the largest male and female pups from a litter of five born at the zoo on April 22. At just 11 days old, the pups required feedings every four hours as they were transported by plane and van to the San Mateo Wolf pack’s den in New Mexico.
As the adults in the San Mateo pack moved down the canyon, the zoo’s field team entered the den and counted eight pups in the litter. Two were selected to bring back to the Brookfield Zoo.
Scents are important to Wolves, so each of the new puppies was rolled in their new den's substrate, urine, and feces to ensure that all the pups smelled the same and they’d be accepted as members of their new families. The zoo reports that the zoo's pack is providing excellent care to the pups, and they emerged from the den with their foster siblings in late May.
Keepers Lauren Gallucci and Racquel Ardisana explained the thrill of participating in this meaningful conservation effort. “We began our careers in animal care because we want to make a difference in wildlife education and conservation, connecting zoo guests to the larger issues in our natural world. Having the opportunity to make such a direct impact on the conservation of a species for which we care every day really hit home!”
Native to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico, Mexican Gray Wolves were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th century. By 1927, they were thought to be extirpated from New Mexico. The last wild Mexican Gray Wolves known to live in Texas were killed in 1970.
After the species was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1976, plans to reestablish the species began. By the mid-2010s, more than 100 Wolves were living in the recovery area.
The zoo’s participation in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program shows how zoos can partner with other conservation organizations to help save species.
Zoo Brno is home to five incredibly adorable Arctic Wolf pups. A male pup and four females were born just two-months-ago. The siblings can now be seen on-exhibit with their parents.
Photo Credits: Zoo Brno
The Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island wolf, is a subspecies of Gray Wolf native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.
The Arctic Wolf’s medium-size distinguishes it from the Northwestern Wolf, which is smaller in comparison.
They are carnivorous hunters, and by nature they help to control the populations of other animals in the region like the Musk Ox, Caribou and Arctic Hares.
Unlike other species of Wolf, the Arctic Wolf rarely comes into contact with humans and is not threatened by hunting or persecution. However, industrial development is a threat as an increasing number of mines, roads, and pipelines encroach on its territory and interrupt its food supply.