A red wolf pup is born in captivity in Kentucky,, giving hope to conservationists that species classified as extinct in the wild can one day be reintroduced in the wild.
Nature conservationists garnered some hope from the birth of a red wolf pup on Monday at the Land Between The Lakes National Area in Golden Pond, Kentucky. The female pup will be staying within the range and will be comforted by her parents for at least a year and a half before she is eventually transferred to another nature center or zoo. Wildlife officials are optimistic that she will be able to breed more red wolves.
Red wolves are very shy creatures by nature . “As she gets older and braver, the little pup will become more visible. Right now she is still hard to see,” said Darrin Samborski, facility manager of the Nature Station.
The amount of Red wolves have been dangerously close to extinction since the middle of the last century due to habitat destruction- aggressive predator control programs and widespread hybridization with coyotes. Hybridization occurred due to the scarcity of red wolf mates and the U.S. government forcefully mating the two animals together to save the red wolf numbers in the ‘60s. In a further effort, after the population become fewer than 100 in the wild, the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild. From this time on, it has been an ongoing battle to keep red wolves in the wild.
“Coyotes and humans are direct competitors for resources with the shy red wolf. They can only exist in areas where both are low in population,” said naturalist, John Pollpeter.
Historically, red wolves could be found from the Ohio River Valley to the Everglades to Central Pennsylvania. Now they are only found in small pockets in the mountains of North Carolina. The monogamous canine is cherished in Cherokee mythology, and many Native Americans chose not to kill them when possible.
As Europeans began to colonize and expand agriculturally, the wolves suffered intense persecution due to encroachment of their habitat, which led to decreased hunting ground. As a result, led to the wolves hunting livestock.
Aside from breeding the red wolves in captivity, conservationists are urging the creation of more programs to inform the public of sparse red wolf levels and are confident that if these measures are taken, red wolves can escape the snares of extinction.