Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 11, 2021

Two American red wolves born at Reflection Riding among 250 remaining

One of two red wolf pups born at Reflection Riding April 15. - Photographs provided

Less than 250 American red wolves exist today, with very few of those living in the wild.

This makes the April 15 birth of two red wolf pups at Reflection Riding a moment of hope for the critically endangered canid, says the arboretum and nature center.

As a member of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, Reflection Riding exhibits, houses and breeds American red wolves. This is the fifth litter born at the arboretum and nature center and the second litter born to parents Apollo and Ruby.

Ruby, the mother, was born at Reflection Riding April 15, 2016, and Apollo, the father, arrived at Reflection Riding in January 2019 from ZooTampa.

The American red wolf is the most critically-endangered canid in the world, with less than 20 living in the wild at a single release site in northeastern North Carolina – the only wild site where red wolves can be found.

There are 250 red wolves under managed human care at 43 facilities in the United States.

American red wolves are native to the Southeastern United States. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, extermination programs and habitat loss led to a dramatic decline and near extinction of the species.

In the late 1970s, the last remaining wild American red wolves were captured in an effort to save them. Those 14 wolves were brought into managed care, starting the breeding and recovery program now known as the Red Wolf SSP.

In 1987, the Red Wolf SSP released four American red wolves into the wild in North Carolina, marking the first time a canid considered extinct in the wild was reestablished in its natal territory.

After years of increased population numbers, a decline in population began to occur in the first decade of the 21st century, particularly during hunting season, as hunters mistook red wolves for coyotes.

With the goal of increasing the wild red wolf population to 550, the Red Wolf SSP recently released four adult red wolves into the North Carolina recovery area and cross-fostered four pups with a wild litter.

Reflection Riding has been an active member of the Red Wolf SSP since 1996.

Source: Reflection Riding