The N.C. Zoo has grown its collection with the birth of a red wolf pup, the first in nearly six years.
The male pup was born on May 3, a single offspring in a species that more commonly has litters of three to five. The newborn is in good health, according to a Zoo news release.
Red wolves are a critically endangered species; there are only an estimated 45 to 60 of them in the wild spread over five counties and three national wildlife refuges in the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The zoo presently houses 12. Six litters of pups have been born at the zoo, but this is the first since 2010.
The mother was kept in a quiet area away from public viewing to increase her chances of a successful delivery. The pup will stay with his mother for about a year before likely being separated to start of family of his own.
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Red wolves are the only wild canid found only in the U.S., and North Carolina is the only state where they are found in the wild. They live an average of 14 to 15 years.