Six endangered red wolf pups were born at Lincoln Park Zoo on April 17, and now two are on their way to start their life in the wild.
The two adorable little pups were sent to North Carolina Friday to be placed inside the den of a pair of wild adult wolves that are currently nursing their own small family of comparably aged pups.
“Wild mothers have readily accepted the pups when they are placed in the den when the pups are this young,” said Arthur Beyer, red wolf field coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Releasing the pups is part of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The program is a cooperative conservation effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.
“Red wolves are critically endangered, so it is very important to bolster their population, and the zoo is proud to contribute to their recovery in this important way,” said Diane Mulkerin, Lincoln Park Zoo curator.
The red wolf was declared an endangered species in 1973. The fostering strategy of bringing the pups into the wild has a very high success rate, according to experts of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan.
The four remaining red wolf pups at the zoo cannot be seen by the public yet, but are expected to be in their den within the next few weeks.