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Zoo Knoxville boasts birth of critically endangered red wolf pups

  zoo knoxville red wolf pups
Zoo Knoxville staff care for new critically endangered red wolf pups -- Photo courtesy Knoxville Zoo.

KNOXVILLE – Eight critically endangered red wolf pups were born at Zoo Knoxville on May 10. Mother Leah and father T.O. are first-time parents of 5 males and 3 females.

The pups are being checked and weighed regularly by zoo staff. They are steadily gaining weight and appear to be healthy and thriving. The pups will stay in the den for three to four weeks before venturing out to explore their habitat.

Red wolves are one of the most endangered animals in the world, classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Once found throughout the Southeastern United States, they were nearly wiped out by the 1960’s due to habitat loss and human persecution. In the 1970’s, the few remaining wolves were brought into a captive breeding program with the goal to breed the species and release them back into the wild.

Currently, the only wild population of red wolves is in northeastern North Carolina. Zoo Knoxville is one of 43 of the breeding facilities in the U.S. for red wolves and is part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. This plan is a collaborative effort of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums working to save red wolves from extinction. There are approximately 230 red wolves in the breeding program and an estimated 30 red wolves in the wild.

For more information on Zoo Knoxville, please visit

Published May 20, 2018

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