NC Welcomes First Wild-Born Red Cub Since 2018 :: WRAL.com
For the first time in four years, a litter of red cubs has been born into the struggling population of wild red wolves in eastern North Carolina.
Six new pups have been born to a pair of wild red wolves at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, according to staff from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Program. The litter includes four female puppies and two male puppies.
Wild births are important news for an endangered species. Currently, red wolves are the rarest canine predator in the world.
Red wolves were once abundant in the Southeast, but the species is now the most endangered canine in the world. Today, only 20 known red wolves remain in the wild, surviving in five sparsely populated eastern North Carolina counties – a sad fate for wolves once so common they were considered “the wolf American”.
The Red Wolf Recovery Program has renewed its efforts to save the species, with officials announcing they will commit significant resources to ensure a full recovery of the species in the wild.
In 2020 and 2021, seven adult red wolves were released into the wild population. Sadly, in 2021 alone, seven Red Wolves have been confirmed killed by collisions with vehicles, gunfire, and unknown causes. Gunshots are the leading cause of death for wild red wolves, followed by collisions with vehicles.
The proud parents of the new litter were reunited as part of the program’s efforts to encourage the breeding of red wolves in the wild. Pairing efforts were successful when the adult wolves paired up, established their own territory, and mated.
“There is a clear causal relationship between the Service’s recovery efforts and the survival and reproduction of red wolves in the wild,” said Perrin de Jong, North Carolina staff attorney at the Center. “It is extremely encouraging to see the agency try again to protect and recover wild red wolves. My heart is filled with hope at the sight of a new generation of red wolves taking their rightful place in the world. countryside.
Since February, the Service has released a total of seven captive-bred red wolves into the wild population, including a pack of two adults and three pups.
This good news for the nearly extinct species comes on top of Carolina Tiger Rescue announcing the arrival of two 3-year-old female red wolves at their sanctuary. In a few years, when the wolves reach breeding age, they will be part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, which is supported by dozens of facilities working to restore the species.
“The Service’s efforts this year represent an encouraging increase in recovery activity in this species’ recovery area, and we are beginning to see results,” de Jong said. “Now we need the Service to continue, so that Red Wolves not only have a future in eastern North Carolina, but throughout their historic range in the Southeast.”