Four red wolf pups — a critically endangered species — were born at the Lincoln Park Zoo last month.
The two males and two females were born to mom, Becca, and dad, Rhett, who were recommended to breed as part of a plan to save the species. The litter, Lincoln Park Zoo’s first since 2010, arrived on April 13.
“Scientists estimate there are less than 30 red wolves left in their native habitat of North Carolina meaning species is on the very brink of extinction in the wild,” said Curator Dan Boehm in a press release. “We could not be more ecstatic for the arrival of these pups to help save this species and bolster the population.”
The pups are spending their first two months in their den nursing, opening their eyes and gaining strength, the zoo said.
Red wolves, native to the east coast, are critically endangered due to hunting. Lincoln Park Zoo said red wolves were targetted because they were perceived to be a threat to livestock, “but research has shown the wolves primarily pursue non-domestic prey such as rabbits, deer and small mammals.”
The wolves get their name from their reddish fur. They are a bit smaller than grey wolves, weighing in around 90 lbs.