Appearance: Red wolves are much leaner than their gray wolf cousins, and they may even look like a domestic German Shepherd dog at first glance. Their coats are mostly brown or buff with a rust color along their capes and on the backs of their legs. The red wolf is between the size of a gray wolf and a coyote, weighing anywhere between 45 and 80 pounds.
Range: Red wolves are known to exist in only one location outside of human care- the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina. In the late 1980s, 14 red wolves were released in the refuge from a surviving un-hybridized population found along eastern Texas. Until recently, this wild population on the North Carolina coast was successfully growing, but due to human intervention and coyote hybridization, the wild population now contains only about 20 individuals. Due to their small numbers, little is known about their true habits. Red wolves’ preferred habitats include large amounts of upland and swamp forests with thick cover.
Diet: The majority of their food consists of small mammals, rodents, birds, and white-tailed deer.
Date of Birth: April 2020
Oak was born at the NC Zoo in Asheboro in April 2020 before making the journey across the state to the WNC Nature Center in November 2022. He is a potential breeding partner for our female red wolf. The WNC Nature Center is part of a breeding and management program known as the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP). Developed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the SSP helps preserve genetic diversity of this critically endangered species and ensure the long-term sustainability of zoo-based animal populations.
Date of Birth: April 2019
Gloria was born in April 2019 and came from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri as a potential breeding partner for our male red wolf. She can be distinguished from her male counterpart by her shorter tail; the tip of her right ear is also missing.
In late April 2023, a litter of critically endangered red wolf puppies were born at the WNC Nature Center! Congrats to first-time parents Gloria and Oak! These pups are on habitat with their parents and are visible to the public.