The zoo plays a key role in the red wolf’s survival efforts

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ASHEBORO – The second largest population of American red wolves in human care is at the North Carolina Zoo.

There are 18 American Red Wolves living in the zoo’s offsite breeding area, in addition to the two that are visible to guests. Three pups were born April 18 as part of the park’s American Red Wolf breeding program. Additionally, one of the animal care specialists, Chris Lasher, is the Vice Species Survival Plan Coordinator for American Red Wolves.

Zoo officials released a response to the US Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday calling for the endangered red wolf program to be halted:

“American Red Wolves were once common throughout the southeastern United States, but were driven to near extinction by the late 1960s. Now they are found in the wild only in the eastern North Carolina.The American red wolf is the most endangered canid in the world and the only wolf native to the United States.

“The NC Zoo plays a key role in its survival. The zoo has been actively involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for more than 24 years and has partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the American red wolf from extinction.

“The NC Zoo is a conservation organization, and our mission is to protect wildlife and wild places, both locally and globally. We believe it is our responsibility to take care of endangered species, like the American red wolf.

“According to the AZA’s Species Survival Plan, limiting American red wolves to one county’s federal lands is not a sustainable plan. (One of the proposed changes is to limit the wolves to federal lands in Dare County alone instead of the largely private lands they now roam across five counties.) We all need to work together to find a way to protect the iconic American red wolf from extinction while minimizing the impact on landowners.

“Your zoo is committed to saving the American red wolf, a species native to North Carolina and the most endangered wolf in the world. We will continue to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to save the American Red Wolf.

“Please consider supporting the North Carolina Zoo’s efforts to save the American red wolf by visiting www.nczoo.com/give/save-a-species/support-red-wolf-conservation.”

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