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N.C. Zoo Records Rare Birth Of Endangered Red Wolves May 04, 2005 10:15 AM

N.C. Zoo Records Rare Birth Of Endangered Red Wolves

POSTED: 3:08 pm EDT May 2, 2005
UPDATED: 3:20 pm EDT May 2, 2005

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- For the fourth time in its history, the North
Carolina Zoo has recorded the birth of one of North America's most
endangered animals. Five red wolf pups were born at the zoo sometime
early Friday, according to zoo officials.

The red wolf is considered the most endangered canine (member of the
dog family) in North America. The zoo's new pups may eventually
become part of an effort to reintroduce red wolves back into the
wild, zoo officials said.

The pups, three males and two females, were born to an adult pair
housed in an off-exhibit holding facility in the zoo's North
American region. The mother is 3 years old and came to the zoo last
December from the Oklahoma Zoo. The 4-year-old father arrived in
Asheboro in September 2003 from Florida's Brevard Zoo.

Zoo officials said that, because the new pups may someday be
candidates for reintroduction, they will remain off exhibit and will
have only limited contact with zookeepers.

At one time, red wolves, cousins to the larger gray wolf, were
thought to have roamed throughout the southeastern U.S. But by the
late 1970's, their population had been diminished to less than a few
dozen along the Texas-Louisiana border.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fearing extinction of the
species, captured the last remaining wild red wolves in 1980. With
the cooperation of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association's Species
Survival Plans, a captive-breeding program for the red wolf was
established in zoos and their numbers have slowly recovered.

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