6 Red Wolf Pups Born at Museum of Life and Science in Durham
The red wolf is now one of our planet's most endangered species and continues to be at risk
Photos courtesy of the Museum of Life and Science
For the third year in a row, the Museum of Life and Science in Durham welcomed a new litter of red wolf pups. The six pups were born on the morning of April 22 — Earth Day — making their family one of the only multigenerational packs of endangered red wolves in captivity nationwide.
All pups were found to be in good health by the Museum's animal care team and are currently in the habitat of the Explore the Wild exhibit. The pups are unlikely to be seen outside for a few weeks, although it’s possible they may be spotted on the den camera. The exhibit will remain open to members and visitors for now.
“I am so excited. These pups are the future for this imperiled species,” said Sherry Samuels, Director of the Museum's Animal Department. Samuels is also a Management Team member of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, a collaborative breeding and management program developed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to ensure the sustainability of endangered animal populations.
“There are fewer than 300 of these animals on the planet,” Samuels said. “Wolf pups get people excited, and it gives us another opportunity to engage with people and have a dialogue about the importance of conservation and about endangered species in our own backyard.”
The Museum's animal care staff will continue to monitor the health of the pups, their older brothers, and the adult wolf pair over the coming weeks; regular pup checks typically occur throughout the first week and hands-on veterinary care in the first two weeks. A preventative medicine protocol of deworming, vaccines, and general checks will occur approximately every two weeks until 16 weeks of age.
Pups typically begin to open their eyes in 10-14 days and often venture out of the den for short periods of time around three weeks of age. At around six weeks they will begin to spend longer amounts of time out of the den, but the public should not expect to see much of them before early June. Even then, the Museum's newest arrivals might be difficult to spot; red wolves are notoriously shy and can be quite reserved around crowds and loud noises. Museum staff will be present at the wolf habitat throughout the summer to answer questions and help guests stay calm, quiet, and observant.
Last year, the same mother gave birth to three pups, two of which are now fully grown and remain at the Museum. This is the fifth time in 26 years that red wolves at the Museum gave birth to a litter of pups. The Museum received its first red wolf in November 1992, followed by litters of pups in 1993, 2002, 2017, and 2018.
For more photos and in-depth information about the new pups, check out and subscribe to the museum's Keeperblog. Samuels has a new post today with more details about the newborn wolf pups.
“It is going to be an amazing spring and summer at our wolf habitat,” Samuels said. “Watching these new pups grow up and interact with their older brothers and parents will be a once in a lifetime experience.”