WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — The Oglebay Good Zoo welcomed two red wolf pups, born on May 19, to the pack being cared for in the Wolf Wilderness habitats at the zoo.
The pups are the 24th and 25th red wolf pups born at the Good Zoo since 1990 and the first pups born there since 2007.
The red wolf is a critically endangered species with an estimated two dozen wild individuals remaining in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brought the remaining wolves into human care to develop a breeding program now known as the Red Wolf SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program as part of the Red Wolf Endangered Species Recovery Program.
There are currently approximately 240 red wolves managed at 49 Red Wolf SAFE facilities across the U.S.
Animal Curator Mindi White said the pups should begin to emerge from the den to begin exploring their habitat in mid-June, and every red wolf birth in human care is incredibly important to the preservation of this species.
“Our team is thrilled to be able to play a part in the conservation of native species like the red wolf,” White said. “Participation in the Red Wolf SAFE program enables us to support conservation of wildlife that once occurred in our own region.”