Durham-born pups part of endangered species

May 6, 2017 by  

According to a recent press release, the Museum of Life and Science here in Durham is celebrating its first birth of red wolf pups in 15 years.

The six puppies were born on April 28 and are a welcome boost to the critically endangered red wolf population, which is estimated to be about 300. The Canis Rufus, or red wolf, was declared in 1980 to be extinct in the wild. At one time, the red wolves ranged across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.

Since declared extinct, museums, zoos and wildlife facilities throughout the U.S. have rallied to help preserve the species by assisting the Red Wolf Recovery Program and Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. Male and female wolves in captivity are brought together in the hope that healthy pups will result.

This latest litter of red wolf pups is the third the Museum of Life and Science has had in 24 years, with 1993 and 2002 also seeing births. The newborn puppies are reported to be healthy and will be monitored closely for their first 30 days.

The red wolf may lose its place on the endangered species list due to the recent discovery that the species is actually a hybrid between the coyote and the gray wolf. Hybrids are not addressed in the Endangered Species Act, so the red wolf’s fate may depend on raising public support, perhaps by increasing awareness via calendars featuring the species.