Red Wolves

Red Wolves PackWhen most people think of wolves, the gray wolf being the most familiar is what comes to mind. The strikingly beautiful red wolf is a distinctly different species from its gray wolf cousins, and notably smaller, weighing an average of only 50 to 60 pounds.

A native to the southeastern United States, once ranging as far west as Missouri, by 1980 the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild, with only a handful of red wolves in captivity shouldering the burden of saving their species.

But they weren’t shouldering it alone.

Here at the Endangered Wolf Center in 1981, we became the first facility to successfully breed both endangered red wolves and Mexican wolves in captivity. In 1987, an amazing female red wolf named Brindled Hope was one of the first of eight animals introduced to the wild in North Carolina, part of the species’ former range. She became the first red wolf to give birth in the wild. Today, many of the wolves now roaming this territory can trace their roots to the Endangered Wolf Center.

Getting a wolf ready to be introduced into the wild takes a lot of work – and a lot of space. The large enclosures here at the Endangered Wolf Center offer red wolf release candidates a chance to hunt, an opportunity to acclimate to larger land areas and the ability to experience little human interference. As much as we’d love to let guests get closer to them, preserving their natural shyness around humans is one of the best ways to ensure their safety in the wild – especially if the humans they might encounter there have them in their crosshairs.

Find more information and facts about red wolves in our Educational Resources.

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