The North Carolina Zoo is celebrating the arrival of not one, but three litters of critically endangered red wolf pups. They’ve announced that 12 pups were born over three days and moms and babies are all doing well. The zoo, located in Asheboro, is now home to 36 red wolves, the second largest pack in the U.S. behind Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.
There are only 15 to 20 red wolves remaining in the wild and they’re all in eastern North Carolina, according to the zoo. Red wolves are considered the most endangered canid in the world. For the first time in two decades, one of the litters was born in the red wolf public habitat, which gives visitors the rare chance to see the pups. The zoo will also be looking to the public for help naming their red wolf pups in a poll next month.
Secretary Reid Wilson with the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources congratulated the zoo for playing an essential role in the survival of this species. He says, “These births are important because many of our wolves, once matured, have been moved to other breeding packs to continue to help bring this species back from near extinction.