Museum Welcomes New Endangered Red Wolf Breeding Pair
New red wolves arrive for 2018 breeding season
The museum's new male red wolf 1803 takes a drink while exploring his new habitat.
Courtney Cawley + Greg Dodge
Durham is howling with excitement about its two newest residents. Last month, a new pair of endangered red wolves (Canis rufus) made their debut at the Museum of Life and Science in preparation for the 2018 breeding season.
The museum’s new 7-year old male, known by his Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) studbook number of 1803, was born at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York and has previously sired two litters of pups. The museum’s new 3-year-old female, studbook number 2062, was born at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and transferred to the museum from the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro. This is her first time being paired for breeding.
With captive and wild populations totaling less than 300 individuals, the arrival of a new breeding pair and the potential they represent for the pitter patter of little paws is significant — both for the museum and for the species.
“We’re excited to get to know these two wolves and watch them develop here ” says Sherry Samuels, the Museum of Life and Science’s animal department director and member of the Red Wolf SSP Management Team. “Given all the changes, we couldn’t be more thrilled with how the introduction has gone thus far. Both wolves have been seen calmly sitting with each other and snuggling together in the den on cold nights. These are big steps in the right direction. We’re hopeful the coming breeding season will be as successful as our last — this is a critical time for the red wolf, every pup matters for the survival of this fragile species.”
All red wolves living at the museum are a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program, and the Red Wolf SSP — a collaborative breeding and management program developed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to ensure the sustainability of endangered animal populations. Once a top predator throughout the southeastern U.S., the red wolf is now categorized as critically endangered.
To protect the remaining red wolf population, a managed breeding program was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the success of this breeding program led to the eventual reintroduction of red wolves to North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Red wolves now inhabit a five-county area in northeastern North Carolina, and although their numbers had grown, gunshots, vehicle strikes and habitat loss have reduced the wild population numbers and continue to threaten their survival.
Last month, the Museum of Life and Science announced the successful transfer of a family of six endangered red wolves (Canis rufus) to the expanded 1-acre habitat at the Wolf Conservation Center of South Salem, New York.
Source: Museum of Life and Science