NC Zoo Celebrates Birth of 12 Critically Endangered Red Cubs :: WRAL.com
Asheboro, North Carolina – The North Carolina Zoo announced on Monday the birth of not one litter of critically endangered red cubs, but three litters, totaling 12 puppies, born over three days from April 28 to April 30. The puppies and moms are doing well, according to the zoo.
“Congratulations to the North Carolina Zoo for playing a vital role in the survival of this critically endangered species,” Secretary Reid Wilson of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said in a statement. Press release. “These births are significant because many of our wolves, once adults, 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 may soon be placed in the wild.”
The zoo now has 36 red wolves, the second largest pack in the United States after Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. According to the zoo, only 15 to 20 red wolves remain in the wild, and they’re all in eastern North Carolina. Red wolves are considered the most endangered canines in the world.
Births come with a few firsts.
This is the first time the Asheboro Zoo has welcomed three litters of puppies born in a single spring.
And, for the first time in two decades, one of the litters was born in the red wolf‘s public habitat, giving zoo visitors a rare chance to see the pups for a limited time, according to the zoo. The pups will likely be visible from mid-June when they begin to venture outside the den. The wolf family will be moved to the non-public breeding area when the cubs are older and weaned from their mothers, the zoo said. The other two litters were born in non-public viewing areas of the zoo.
Here is how the litters were sorted:
- The parents of two females born on April 28 are Denali (male) and Ayita.
- The parents of two males and two females born on April 30 are Solo (male) and Taylor.
- The parents of six puppies – two males and four females born on April 30 – are Flint (male) and Sassy. It is the pack born on the public habitat.
The zoo will announce a public poll of the names of one of the litters sometime next month.
The North Carolina Zoo has been at the forefront of efforts to save the red wolf. He led successful efforts to have him become part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ program to save species from extinction, according to the zoo. Under the program, the zoo takes the lead in species conservation and population growth in the wild and animals in human care. Since 1994, the zoo has successfully bred 48 wolves.
Once common throughout the southeastern United States, wolves were driven to near extinction by the late 1960s, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched an aggressive conservation effort – the American Red Wolf Recovery Program – which has led to new ways to track and protect the species, the zoo shared in the press release. These efforts have led to increasing numbers of wild red wolves in eastern North Carolina, but changes in recovery program management have caused the wild population to plummet again in recent years.