Red Wolf Pups Make Public Debut At Green Bay Zoo

Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo Had Never Before Successfully Bred Rare Species Of Wolf

The litter of red wolf pups at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo. Photo courtesy of NEW Zoo.

A litter of six rare red wolf pups is making its public debut at a Green Bay area zoo, marking the first time the zoo has successfully bred the species.

The pups were born at the end of May and still spend a lot of time sleeping.

“Red wolves are very rare,” said Carmen Murach, the curator of animals at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo. She said that that the species, which is native to the southeastern U.S., has a global population of about 400. It’s estimated that only about 100 of those are in the wild and reproducing.

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She said this batch of six pups is unusual: “That’s a pretty big number. In captivity they tend to have larger litters than in the wild.”

The zoo has had pairs of red wolves for years, but Murach said this is the first time pups were born. She said the species’ numbers are hampered by a naturally low fertility rate and human encroachment.

“Loss of habitat, of course, is a huge problem for most wild animals, especially large predators,” said Murach. “People out-compete them all the time, take away their land.”

Murach also said that predatory control programs killed many wolves in the 1960s and 1970s. The programs were in part motivated by the perception that the wolves were a threat to children.

Murach is attending a Species Survival Plan Program meeting to decide upon the future of the red wolf pups next week. She said some may go to other zoos, while some may be released into the wild.