Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
April 22, 2007
Endangered Red Wolf Pups Born in Chattanooga
Photo credit: Chattanooga Nature Center
24-hour old Red Wolf pups born to exhibit pair at the Chattanooga Nature Center on April 3. Perhaps these pups will one day live in the wild on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge or other part of eastern North Carolina?
It is that time of the year again when red wolf puppies are born in the wild and in captivity. Only wildlife biologists get to see wild-born pups, and that is only after days and weeks in the field, traveling through thick vegetation in all kinds of weather to find the elusive litters. Red wolf parents safely tuck away their offspring, keeping them safe from intruders. But, visitors to the Chattanooga Nature Center were able to view pups younger than 24 hours old last week.
Thanks to the red wolf captive-breeding program, nearly 40 facilities across the U.S. house red wolves, and most of them offer visitor viewing opportunities. Last week at the Chattanooga Nature Center, a new litter of 5 puppies, born off exhibit, could be viewed from the den’s monitor while they were younger than 24-hours old. The pups are the offspring of a four-year old male and three-year old female who came to the Center at the end of 2006.
Dr. Jean Lomino, the Center's Executive Director said, “We are really excited that the Nature Center has been successful in our endeavor to help bring a species back from the brink of extinction. It is really significant for our region because the southeastern U.S. was once home for these animals – they are part of our natural heritage.”
As part of the Species Survival Plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Program, will ultimately decide where the pups should live in the future. According to Jenny Nicely, Center Wildlife Curator, “There is a chance they may be released into the wild as part of the free-roaming population at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. They may also be allowed to stay at the Center indefinitely, or could be transferred to another facility once they are old enough to participate in the captive breeding program.”
For additional red wolf information and a list of captive-breeding facilities, please visit www.fws.gov/allligatorriver/redwolf.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.