Two endangered Cubs born at the North Carolina Zoo, bringing the total to seven this year – Salisbury Post
The puppies are named after a zookeeper who died last year
ASHEBORO – The North Carolina Zoo announces the birth of two endangered American Red Wolves as part of its American Red Wolf Breeding Program. The two female puppies were born on Monday May 4th to parents Taylor (female) and Solo (male). This is the second litter for the zoo this year, which is the first time for two litters in one season for the zoo’s breeding program. On April 21, five puppies were born at the zoo to parents Piglet (female) and Jewell (male).
The seven puppies are all healthy and doing well.
The new puppies were named after former North Carolina zookeeper Jessi Culbertson, 32, who worked with the Red Wolves for several years before passing away in 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer .
The puppies are named Arrow, in honor of Jessi’s Cherokee Native American heritage, and May, for the month Jessi and the puppies share a birthday.
This litter brings the number of red wolves in the zoo’s breeding program to 27, making it 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.
There are only 15-20 red wolves left in the wild, and they are all found in eastern North Carolina.
Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, praised the zoo’s efforts to help this critically endangered species survive.
“It really is a testament to the dedication, teamwork and passion of the staff to help one of the most endangered canines in the world,” said Hamilton.
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. With these recent births, the zoo’s red wolf pack has raised 13 puppies over the past three years and successfully bred 36 wolves since the start of the program. Currently, there are approximately 240 red wolves (this number may change daily during the calving season) in breeding programs in the United States. Red wolves normally have three to five pups per litter.
The North Carolina Zoo has 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 https://www.aza.org/aza-safe.
To learn more about the North Carolina Zoo and its red wolf program, visit www.nczoo.org