The arrival of spring also brings a litter of four critically endangered red wolf pups at Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo.
“Scientists estimate there are less than 30 red wolves left in their native habitat of North Carolina meaning species is on the very brink of extinction in the wild,” said Curator Dan Boehm. “We could not be more ecstatic for the arrival of these pups to help save this species and bolster the population.”
The pups, two male and two female, were born on April 13. The dam, Becca, and sire, Rhett, were recommended to breed as part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a cooperative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions to save species. This is the first litter for the zoo since 2010.
Canine gestation is around 60 days with litters ranging from three to sixoffspring. The cubs typically stay in the den for the first month as they surpass critical milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and gaining strength. The pups have yet to venture from the den but have received their first veterinary check-ups.
Since 2005, Lincoln Park Zoo has been involved in the Red Wolf Recovery Program to try and assist the wild population with cross-fostering of zoo-born pups into wild family groups and other reintroduction efforts. Since that time, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists also conducted a population viability analysis (PVA), a computer model that helped to evaluate different management scenarios for the zoo and wild populations and scientific advice to the recovery program. The future status of the North Carolina wild population is uncertain, but the Red Wolf SSP and Lincoln Park Zoo will continue to work toward long-term recovery efforts.
Zoo guests can support the pups and Lincoln Park Zoo in its care and conservation endeavors by purchasing an item from the zoo’s Wish List. Just in time for Mother’s Day, guests can also ADOPT a red wolf to support world-class care for red wolf Becca and her pups all year long.
Red wolves are named for their red-tinged fur and are typically smaller than their ‘cousin’ grey wolves, weighing in around 90lbs. Native to the eastern United States, red wolves were driven toward extinction due to hunting. The species was targeted as a perceived threat to livestock, but research has shown the wolves primarily pursue non-domestic prey such as rabbits, deer, and small mammals.
Learn more about Lincoln Park Zoo and the red wolf pups, visit lpzoo.org.
About Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately managed, member-supported nonprofit organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at lpzoo.org.
Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Born at Lincoln Park Zoo (Julia Fuller/Lincoln Park Zoo (82.7 MB, MP4))