NC Zoo announces the birth of a dozen American Red Wolf puppies


ASHEBORO, NC (WECT) – The North Carolina Zoo announced the birth of five Critically Endangered American Red Wolves on Friday as part of its American Red Wolf Breeding Program.

The five new puppies – three males and two females – were born on Tuesday April 21. The puppies and their mothers are all healthy and doing well.

Zoo officials say there are currently only 15 to 20 red wolves found in the wild, only in eastern North Carolina, making them the most endangered canine in the world.

To celebrate North Carolina, the rare puppies were named after plants found in the state. The names of the males are Oak (Appalachian Oak), Cedar (Red Cedar) and Sage (Azure Sage). The females are called Lily (Carolina Lily, the state’s wild flower) and Aster (Piedmont Aster).

Their parents are Piglet (female) and Jewell (male). This is the first litter of this couple.

This litter brings the number of red wolves in the North Carolina Zoo’s breeding program to 25, making them the second largest pack in the United States after the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.

Puppies are kept in a quiet, non-public viewing area of ​​the zoo and have minimal contact with staff and guardians. This allows their mother to raise the puppies with the least stress in a natural habitat.

Once common throughout the Southeastern United States, wolves nearly went extinct in the late 1960s, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service launched an aggressive conservation effort – the American Red Wolf Recovery Program – that has leads to new ways of tracking and protecting the species.

The zoo has been part of the US red wolf recovery program since 1994. The zoo’s red wolf pack has raised eleven puppies over the past three years and successfully bred 34 wolves since the start of the program.

Currently, there are approximately 240 red wolves (this number may change daily during calving season) in breeding programs across the United States. Red wolves normally have three to five pups per litter.

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.

As part of this program, the zoo is at the forefront of species conservation and population growth in the wild and in animals supported by humans.

AZA SAFE Species programs aim to protect endangered species around the world. For more information visit

To learn more about the North Carolina Zoo and its Red Wolf Program, please visit

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