Now that they’re starting to venture outside the den, the eight endangered Red Wolf pups born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are ready for names!
The pups, who were born May 10, are now known as: Chester, Cypress and Hawthorn for the three boys; Camellia, Magnolia, Myrtle, Peat and Willow for the five girls.
Members of the public overwhelmingly picked the slate of flower, plant and tree names for the puppies. The list of flora was compiled by the zoo’s Red Wolf keepers from among flowers, plants and trees from the wolves’ native range in North Carolina. More than 4,500 people participated in the voting.
During a recent exam by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Kadie Anderson, the eight healthy pups weighed between 3 and 4 pounds.
“They’re growing fast, and they all appear to be healthy,” Anderson said. “It’s a joy to have them at Point Defiance Zoo and to watch them grow. They are the future of their species.”
If guests of the afternoon keeper chats are fortunate, the pups and mom Charlotte might make an appearance. Whether – and how far – they venture out into their habitat is all up to them, though. Puppy sightings aren’t guaranteed.
“We’ve seem more activity from them over the last week or so,” said Jenn Donovan, the senior staff biologist in the Kids’ Zone/Red Wolf Woods area of the zoo. “Charlotte is being a fantastic mother. She’s been nursing and bonding with them.
“As they become more mobile and independent, she’ll spend less time with them, but will continue to keep a watchful eye on her eight pups,” Donovan added.
North American Red Wolves are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with only about 40 in the wild and just over 250 in zoos and wildlife centers across the nation.
The pups are part of a cooperative effort that helped bring these iconic American animals back from the brink of extinction four decades ago. Point Defiance Zoo has been at the forefront of the program, and these eight pups represent another success in the survival of the Red Wolf species.
For more information about Red Wolves and Red Wolf conservation, go to www.pdza.org//animals/red-wolf-woods .