Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

Back to News Home Page

News Release

June 16, 2009

Species Red Wolf: Alive and Well!

Four red wolf pups sleeping together on the ground.
Photo credit:Lincoln Park Zoo (Owen).
"It's been a really productive spring/early summer for the Red Wolf Recovery Program", said Acting Team Leader Art Beyer. Forty-one puppies were born to 11 wild red wolf litters during 2009. In addition, one male and three female pups from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois were fostered into two wild litters in eastern North Carolina. These pups bring the 10 year total to 24 pups that have been fostered into wild packs in northeastern North Carolina – the only place in the world where red wolves live in their natural habitat. In all cases, the fostered pups were readily accepted by their parents and siblings. In the photo above, two Lincoln Park Zoo pups meet their adoptive NC siblings. Fostering must take place during the first 12 days of a puppy’s life. Logistics can be tricky, but for this team of biologists with nearly 100 years of collective experience, the process is "old hat!"

Diane from Lincoln Park Zoo recording data in the background, red pup being held up by two gloved hands in the foreground.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo (Owen).
Lincoln Park Zoo staff record data as Red Wolf Biologist Michael Morse examines male pup to be fostered into a pack south of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

A red wolf running in the opposite direction as the camera.
Photo Credit: USFWS, Ryan Nordsven.
In addition to wild and captive populations of red wolves, there is yet another important component to the Red Wolf Recovery Program – island propagation sites. St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in Apalachicola, Florida, is one such site. Island propagation is a part of the captive program, but the "pen" is an island. The offspring acclimate to a wild setting before one or more of the litter is brought to North Carolina’s restoration area and released. In May, 2009, a female red wolf from St. Vincent was released into an area where biologists hope she’ll find a mate and have pups. In addition to the adult female, four yearling males from St. Vincent were released in eastern North Carolina during 2009. Above, a St. Vincent yearling male joins the northeastern North Carolina wild red wolf population.

Women kneeling, watches the foster red wolves and the wild wolves meet.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo (Owen).
The Lincoln Park Zoo foster pups meet the wild pups.

Mike Morse holds up a red wolf pup
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo (Owen).
Red Wolf Biologist Michael Morse holds up a Red Wolf pup.