Six ginger cubs born in North Carolina

There is new hope for the critically endangered red wolf with the birth of a new litter of six pups at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on the North Carolina coast. As the first litter born in the wild in four years, the discovery marks a successful breakthrough for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Red Wolf Recovery Strategy. Authorities confirmed the birth of four female wild red wolves and two males in mid-April.

The parents of the offspring are believed to be a female identified by the program as 2225 and a father identified as 2323. The male was one of two wolves transferred to Alligator River National Refuge in December 2020 from the refuge. St. Vincent National Wild, an island propagation site created by the USFWS to help maintain wild breeding pairs in a somewhat controlled environment.

Images of male 2323 around his initial release in the area

“The establishment of the red wolf pair and the return of the litters of wild born red wolves is a major step and an important step towards recovery,” said Joe Madison, recovery program manager. “However, there is a lot of work to be done. The birth of this litter is an example of what can be achieved.

Declared extinct in 1980 and now classified as endangered, red wolves were once abundant throughout the Southeast, where they played a key role in maintaining environmental habitats. As a top species, they have balanced ecosystems by maintaining healthy population levels of small predators.

Photos of Red Wold recovery program officials tagging and analyzing newly found puppies. Photo courtesy of Red Wolf Recovery Program.

Although they were successfully reintroduced in 1987, the growth of the red wolf population has been hampered by human-caused mortalities, including gunfire and collisions with vehicles, as well as breeding with animals. coyotes.

The USFWS Red Wolf Recovery Program is an ongoing collaborative effort with the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, the Red Wolf Species Survival Program, and Saving Animals From Extinction, which has facilities that manage the captive population of red wolves. The next steps will be based on the release of captive bred red wolves that were born last winter.

“The Service continues to work with local and state governments, conservation organizations, private landowners and other partners in red wolf conservation,” Madison said. “Having broad support is critical to the future success of the Red Wolf program”

Cover photo of new puppies courtesy of Red Wolf Recovery Program

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