Red Wolf Pups Bring New Sense of Hope to the Zoo

For the second year in a row, Roger Williams Park Zoo announces the birth of two red wolf pups, the world’s most endangered canid species.
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Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo

As the warmer weather approaches, a couple furry friends have entered the world. Roger Williams Park Zoo proudly welcomed its newest members, two red wolf pups born on April 29.

This is the second year in a row eight-year-old Brave (the dam) and seven-year-old Diego (the sire) have added to zoo family as part of Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, a cooperative effort among the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions to save species. Born last May, their first pup, Saluda, was the first red wolf born at the Zoo since 2005 and the first successful birth for mom Brave.

“The Red Wolf SAFE program’s goal is to support conservation efforts for this species by maintaining a healthy and viable population of red wolves under human care, growing education and awareness efforts, and aiding research vital to supporting recovery and management,” according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The red wolf is the world’s most endangered canid species, with only 235 red wolves in forty-nine Red Wolf SAFE facilities across the country as of February 23. By 1980, red wolves were listed as extinct in the wild. Through the collaboration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, the last fourteen remaining of its kind were brought into zoos for protection and to establish a captive breeding program to form the foundation of a wild population through reintroduction back to the wild. 

During last year’s breeding season, twenty-eight breeding pairs were established and successfully gave birth to and raised twenty-nine pups. RWP Zoo called Saluda’s addition to their family an “emblem of hope for the survival of this species.” The birth of the two new pups this year marks another win for this rapidly disappearing species.

Before you rush to the Zoo to see these little balls of fuzz, the pups are still steadily gaining weight and acclimating to their new journey. The next month is critical for the cubs’ development and will likely remain in the den with Brave for the next few weeks as the surpass important milestones like nursing and gaining strength — though they have already opened their eyes and taken their first fews steps outside the den! Guests may be able to catch a glimpse of the Zoo’s newest members in the North American habitat as they continue to explore, but for now you are more likely to be greeted by dad Diego. 

Roger Williams Park Zoo zookeepers and the veterinary team will continue to monitor mom and baby using an infrared camera located inside the wolves’ birthing den (as seen in the photo above). If you’re interested in staying in the loop on updates on the pups’ progress, be sure to follow the Zoo’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

For added cuteness, keep scrolling for pics of their sibling Saluda as a new pup.

Red Wolf Pup With Mom Brave 2022 E1653679720855 1307x1536

Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo


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Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo


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Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo