The North Carolina Zoo has announced the birth of two litters of critically endangered red wolves, adding nine new additions to their red wolf population.
Three of the new pups were born to red wolves Marsh and Roan, while six pups were born to parents Denali and May.
Posting a video of the adorable pups on Twitter, the zoo writes that the pups were checked to make sure they were healthy and hydrated and that that did not have any heart murmurs. Their checkup also included making sure they didn’t have any problems that would make it hard for them to nurse correctly, like a cleft palate.
“Each pup is weighed, sexed, and identified by its white blaze chest patch,” they wrote. “The veterinary staff checks the litters every two weeks to ensure everyone remains healthy.”
We are thrilled to announce that we have had not one but TWO litters of critically endangered red wolf pups born at the North Carolina Zoo!#SavingSpecies pic.twitter.com/6Io05EmxjP
— North Carolina Zoo (@NCZoo) May 9, 2023
The litters were born as part of the zoo’s contribution to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums American Red Wolf SAFE Program, which is working to protect the wolves from extinction.
As of spring 2023, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are only 23-25 red wolves left in the wild, and 278 in the Red Wolf SAFE Program.
“The American red wolf was one of the first species protected under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967 as well as one of the first species added to the list of endangered species after the passing of the Endangered Species Act in 1973,” the AZA writes on their website. “By that time, many red wolves had already been hunted to near extinction.”
Last year, a litter of four female and two male red wolf pups were found in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the first litter of red wolf pups born in the wild in four years.
This is the second time in just one week that a U.S. zoo has welcomed the birth of an endangered species. A Sumatran orangutan gave birth to a new addition at the Sacramento Zoo on May 1.
The 19-year-old orangutan named Indah and her infant are currently being cared for by the staff at the zoo and are not available for the public to see, but the zoo shared a handful of adorable photos on Facebook.
Congratulations to the North Carolina Zoo and the new red wolf parents!
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