North Carolina Zoo announces birth of 5 critically endangered Cubs
ASHEBORO, NC (WNCN) – The North Carolina Zoo made a big announcement on Friday morning – five critically endangered American red wolves have been born as part of their breeding program.
The five new puppies – three males and two females – were born on April 21. The puppies and their mother are all healthy, officials said.
According to the zoo, there are only 15 to 20 red wolves in the wild and they are all located in eastern North Carolina.
Red wolves “are the most endangered canines in the world,” according to the zoo’s press release.
The puppies were all named after plants found in the state.
Male puppies are named Oak for Appalachian Oak, Cedar for Red Cedar, and Sage for Azure Sage. Females are named Lily for the Carolina lily and Aster for the Piedmont Aster. Their parents are called Piglet and Jewell. The zoo said this was the couple’s first litter.
The five new puppies bring the total number of red wolves in the zoo’s breeding program to 25. The North Carolina Zoo pack is the second largest in the country behind the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium pack in Tacoma, Wash., The statement said.
At present, the “puppies are kept in a quiet, non-public viewing area of the zoo and have minimal contact with staff and caretakers. This allows their mother to raise the puppies with the least stress in a natural habitat, ”the zoo said.
“Kudos to the North Carolina Zoo for playing such a vital role in the recovery of this critically endangered species,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “This is yet another example of the zoo doing an incredible job of conserving wildlife and wild places.”
The red wolves nearly went extinct in the late 1960s before the US Fish and Wildlife Service launched a conservation effort to save the species, the statement said.