Zoo Celebrates Birth Of Three Rare Wolf Pups

"Any puppies that are born, is pretty amazing..."

Today zoos across the nation celebrated “Endangered Species Day” by recognizing conservation and species success stories. One such success story happened recently at the Great Plains Zoo, with the addition of three new puppies. 

“Nayati, here, is patrolling his area making sure everything is all safe for his family.”

Nearly 40 years ago, it would have been almost impossible to see a red wolf in the wild, explained President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo Elizabeth Whealy.

“Any time you pull one piece out of the ecosystem it affects a number of other species so when the red wolf was declared extinct, in the wild, in 1980, that was a problem.” 

Red wolves were common in eastern and southern portions of the United States, even seen as far west as Texas. However, due to habitat loss, predator control programs and commonly being mistaken for coyotes, their numbers decreased… quickly.

“Red wolves are endangered, there are less than 300 of them in the wild right now.”

around a hundred is what both scientists and biologists estimate to be the current population in the wild. There is a small population located in eastern North Carolina. But zoos like the Great Plains Zoo quickly stepped in when their numbers were rapidly falling.

“Zoos and other breeding programs worked together to bring back this important population,” explained President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo Elizabeth Whealy. The Great Plains Zoo is a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s (AZA) endangered species breeding program.

And on April 10th, the red wolf population saw an increase; at less than a pound each, three female pups were born to the Great Plains Zoo.

“The keepers holding the pups the first day, the smiles tell the story… they’re so proud of the work they’ve done,” says Whealy.

Now, over a month old, they’re already weighing six pounds and are quite a handful for parents Nayati and Ayasha.

“Any puppies that are born, is pretty amazing.”

“Now they have three pups that are wondering around their exhibit and rolling and playing and eating well and we’re really glad to see that,” says President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo Elizabeth Whealy. 

The three new pups are the third little of red wolves that the Great Plains Zoo has successfully bred. They have been helping breed the wolves since 1993.