2008 Pup Season Underway
by Diane Hendry
April and May are very exciting months for red wolf populations—both in the wild and in captivity. It's pup season! This annual occurrence finds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service red wolf biologists spending many hours in the field, seven days a week, looking for hidden dens over the five counties of Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort. Radio telemetry collars tell the biologists that there are 18-20 packs in this 1.7 million acres of northeastern North Carolina—the only place in the world where red wolves roam free in a portion of their original homerange.
So far for the 2008 pup season, the biologists have found 12 litters and 51 red wolf puppies, though there could still be more. For the next several weeks, theses five red wolf wildlife biologists will keep looking. Ideally, the red wolf field crew would like to find three or four more dens, but this season has already proven to be a "healthy" denning season.
During 2007, 31 pups were found in the wild population. The year before, 44 pups were found and, in the year before that, 55 pups were located. There are also 42 captive facilities across the United States that house red wolves. Most of these zoos and nature centers have public viewing facilities and welcome visitors. Many also have webcams located in the dens, which enable viewers to watch the activities of red wolf pups and parents. Please visit http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/redwolf.html for a list of the captive management facilities and their locations and a plan a visit soon.
About the author:
Diane Hendry is the Outreach Coordinator for the Red Wolf
Recovery Program at Alligator River NWR.
Would you like to comment on this article?
View printer-friendly version