Science
2:30 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Point Defiance Zoo welcomes more red wolves

The population of the Red Wolf Woods exhibit at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium just tripled in size. A new pair of wolves has arrived from the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

The wolves, Wilson and Havana, are a non-breeding pair. They're on display in an area separate from the exhibit's other resident, Graham.

Red wolves are an endangered species – fewer than 300 remain in zoos and in the wild.

While that number seems small, it's a vast improvement from 1980 when there were only 14 pure red wolves left. Those wolves were brought to Point Defiance as part of the Species Survival Plan managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. More wolves were born at Point Defiance and distributed to other zoos. Some of the wolves have been introduced back into the wild.

The Zoo lost its previous female red wolf, Ocean Blue, in May. She died unexpectedly from a uterine infection. Zoo officials hope to pair her mate, Graham, with another breeding female. Leaders of the Species Survival Plan will choose Graham's new mate in July.

The Red Wolf once ranged over much of the eastern United States, from as far north as Pennsylvania and New York to as far west as Texas. You can learn more about them at the Point Defiance Zoo's Red Wolf Conservation page.

Red wolves filmed at the zoo in 2010: