North Carolina Welcomes Litter of Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups—First Born in the Wild in 4 Years

“A new litter of red wolf pups and renewed hope for survival of a species!”

Red Wolf Pups
Photo: Red Wolf Recovery Program/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wildlife officials are celebrating a new litter of red wolf pups.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Red Wolf Recovery Program announced the birth of six pups (four females and two males) in North Carolina's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on Facebook last week.

The litter is the first wild-born litter of red wolves since 2018—a boon for the species, which is currently listed as critically endangered.

"As the sights and sounds of spring began to unfold on Alligator River NWR this April, something monumental was also unfolding on the landscape…a new litter of red wolf pups and renewed hope for survival of a species!" Red Wolf Recovery Program wrote on Facebook alongside photos of the precious pups.

"This red wolf pair was formed through the combination of several management actions and the two red wolves subsequently following their natural instincts in pairing, establishing their territory and mating," the program explained. (See the post here).

Red wolves once thrived throughout the Southeast. Sadly, by the 1970s, the species had been driven to near extinction due to overhunting and habitat loss.

There were a just 17 wolves left when the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973. Of those, 14 were used to form USFWS's captive breeding program. The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980.

As of today, there are an estimated 15 to 17 red wolves living in the wild. Another 241 exist in captivity.

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"Every generation yields a new born hope for the red wolf…a cause for joy and celebration!" the program wrote on Facebook.

Fingers crossed these sweet pups live long and healthy lives.

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