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Tampa zoo welcomes new litter of highly endangered red wolf pups

As of April 2018, the number of wild red wolves in the United States had dropped a staggering amount, from 120 to just 40.

The species is highly endangered, the most endangered wolf species on Earth, and it’s probable that wild red wolves could soon go extinct.

However, there are still quite a few red wolves in captivity, and recently, ZooTampa at Lowry Park in Tampa, Florida welcomed the addition of a litter of four red wolf pups.

The pups, born in late April, are first red wolves born at the zoo since 1993, and zoo visitors now have a rare look at how the wolves would live in the wild.

Only this week were visitors first allowed to see the litter of pups as they began to emerge from a natural den built by their mother.

Zoo staff created a new habitat for the wolves, which according ZooTampa, “allows guests to be part of the experience as the pups grow.”

Checkups have been scheduled for the pups but both the zoo’s staff and veterinarians have been keeping a careful eye on the new additions.

Because only around 200 red wolves exist in captivity and reintroduction areas, the four wolf pups are exciting news, not just for the zoo but also for the continued preservation of the species.

“We’re all tremendously proud of the success this litter represents,” said Ray Ball, the senior veterinarian at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. “It is especially rewarding to see how the zoo’s efforts are encouraging new offspring. Yona is caring for her puppies in public view. This shows how comfortable and well cared for she feels.”

ZooTampa also leads in caring for, rescuing, and rehabilitating several other threatened or endangered species native to Florida as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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