MANTEO, N.C. — The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) said six red wolf pups were born in the coastal region of North Carolina this month, a remarkable achievement for an endangered species.
The Red Wolf Recovery Program, an FWS program based in Manteo, said the little pups were found within the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
In a Facebook post, the program said the litter is comprised of four females and two males found during the week of April 18.
Program organizers think the pups were born to a mother and father identified by the numbers 2225 and 2323, respectively. They'll check that, to make sure, with a genetic test based on a cheek swab from one of the pups.
This is the first litter of red wolves born in the wild since 2018.
"Every generation yields a new born hope for the red wolf…a cause for joy and celebration," the program wrote.
Red wolves are currently classified as an endangered species. According to the FWS, there are eight known red wolves remaining in the wild (but estimates said there could be as many as 15-17).
The only wild red wolf population is located within five counties in Eastern North Carolina: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington.
There are 241 wolves within the Species Survival Plan, which uses captive breeding to increase the population of red wolves with the intention of releasing them into the wild.
The pups born in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge were each microchipped, so experts can identify them later.
For more information about the Red Wolf Recovery Program, you can visit its website.