Second year in a row Roger Williams Park Zoo celebrates birth of red wolf pups
Roger Williams Park Zoo has welcomed 2 red wolf pups, the world’s most endangered canid species, born on April 29th. This marks the second year in a row the zoo has played a role in the birth of this species.
According to an organizational release,1 the dam, Brave (8 years old), and sire, Diego (7 years old), were recommended to breed as part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP). This is the second litter for the duo, sibling Saluda was born in May 2022.
“The Red Wolf SAFE program’s goal is to support conservation efforts for this species by maintaining a healthy and viable population of red wolves under human care, growing education and awareness efforts, and aiding research vital to supporting recovery and management, “according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.2
As of February 2023, there were about 235 red wolves in 49 Red Wolf SAFE facilities nationwide. In the 2021 to 2022 breeding season, 28 breeding pairs were established and 46 pups in 13 litters were born, of which 29 survived.1
Roger Williams Park Zoo zookeepers and the veterinary team will further monitor the mom and pups with an infrared camera inside the wolves’ birthing den. The pups have been seen nursing and appear to steadily gain weight. The next month is a key time for the pups’ development. They been staying in the den for the first month as they hit critical milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and gaining strength. Both pups have already opened their eyes.
The pups and mother will likely remain mostly in the den while Diego the father may be seen in the North American habitat now, though they have taken their first steps outside over the weekend.