Red wolf facts
The red wolf is a distinctly different species from the gray wolf. The red wolf’s historical range included the southeastern United States from southern Missouri south to Texas, across the Gulf Coast states and into North Carolina. Red wolves are smaller than their gray wolf cousins, averaging 40 to 50 pounds. They prey on small animals such as rabbits, racoons, squirrels, muskrats, nutria and small deer.
Red wolf pups are born between late April and early May, with an average litter size of two to six pups. The entire pack is involved in raising them.
The road to red wolf recovery
In 1973 the Red Wolf Recovery Plan was completed and began being implemented. There were over 400 canids captured between 1973 and 1980, however, only 17 were considered genetic red wolves. Sadly, the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild by 1980, with only a few red wolves in captivity.
The Endangered Wolf Center received its first pair of red wolves in 1981. It was the first facility to breed both endangered red and Mexican gray wolves in captivity. Approximately 5 percent of red wolves born in captivity began their lives here at the Endangered Wolf Center.
A return to the wild
One animal born at the Endangered Wolf Center deserves particular mention. In 1986, Brindled Hope was one of the first eight animals reintroduced into the wild at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. She was the first to reproduce successfully outside the captive breeding program and many of the wild wolves in that area are her descendants.
The large enclosures of the Endangered Wolf Center offer these red wolf release candidates a chance to hunt, an opportunity to acclimate to larger land areas, and experience little human interference. Their howls announce the success of the program and the role that the Endangered Wolf Center has played in their triumphant return.
The red wolves in our care
The Center now houses three red wolves. Don Mack had been paired with Inapa, a magnificent three-legged wolf, since winter 2011. But Inapa passed away in spring 2014. Our newest breeding pair is Scout and Sprint. The center received Sprint from a facility in Texas called Fossil Rim in fall 2012.
Sprint received her name at Fossil Rim because she would sprint into her den box when anyone would come by her enclosure.She seems to like her new home because keepers rarely see her in her den boxes. But she can be seen on top of them.