A red wolf pup, one of the country’s most endangered species, was born on Easter Sunday at Wolf Haven International in Tenino.
Wolf Haven announced the birth this week.
“We wanted to wait the first few days because anything can happen,” Kim Young, Wolf Haven’s communications director, said. “We don’t know (the gender) for sure. We are guessing it’s a girl based on the remote camera footage. Its ears and eyes are not open yet. It’s still blind and deaf.”
Young said nobody has been allowed near the pup’s den for photography or handling. Video of the pup is available on Wolf Haven’s YouTube channel.
“The reason for that is we are very protective of the mother and the pup,” Young said. “It’s just fascinating to watch the camera footage. Sometimes the mother will temporarily leave the pup and she is keeping the father away for whatever reason.”
The red wolf pup is the first pup born at Wolf Haven since a litter of Mexican Gray wolves were born in 2007. Wolf Haven now has six red wolves, including the pup.
Red wolves, native to the eastern and south central United States, became an endangered species in 1967 after the population was decimated from intensive predator control programs and alterations to habitat, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
More than 100 red wolves currently roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina, the USFWS said, and nearly 200 red wolves are maintained in captive breeding facilities throughout the United States, including Wolf Haven.
In 2003, Wolf Haven was approved as a captive breeding facility for red wolves.
The pup was born to 8-year-old Tamaska and 9-year-old Jacob. The pair have been together for the past four breeding seasons, Young said, and the pup is their first.
Typically, a litter size is four to six pups, according to Wolf Haven. With both parents being older, Young said, only one pup was born.
Wolf Haven, formed 31 years ago, currently houses 52 wolves. The sanctuary has 12 Mexican gray wolves, five red wolves, two coyotes, some wolf/dog hybrids and the rest are gray wolves.
Red wolves are smaller than gray wolves and grow to about 50 to 70 pounds, Young said.
All the red wolves alive today are related to the last 14 saved in the late 1960s.
Wolf Haven has not yet named the pup, although it already has an identification number.
“We give them names to personalize them because they are definitely individuals to us,” Young said.