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2024 Pupdate #3

Now a little more than one month old, the five Red Wolf pups are less “wiggle worm” and more curious chaos, so if you follow us on social media (and you should), you’ve likely seen the videos and photos of the pups making their first moves into the world beyond the den. Three weeks is the usual timeframe for young Red Wolves to start wandering, and this batch of pups was no different.

A brave pup takes an early step outside the den with mom, Oak.

Last week, the Animal Care Team joined up with NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dr. Tara Harrison (and her students!) to perform another series of pup checks. One of our goals as a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ American Red Wolf SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program is to limit the amount of interaction the wolves have with humans while still monitoring development, so these physicals only happen periodically.

The five pups together at their second checkup.
A pup receives a dental exam.

This round of checks included updated ID photos, weight, a dental exam, heart and lung exams, the first dose of preventative dewormer, and the placement of microchips. All pups are healthy and growing well, with weights ranging from 1.47kg to 1.81kg.

A pup receives deworming medication to fight parasites.
Pups were given thorough physical exams.

Though their current diet is composed of only milk, it won’t be long before the pups graduate from liquids to semisolids, in the form of partially digested meat from mom and dad.

“It’s an exciting time when the pups start transitioning to eating food,” Senior Director of Anima Care Sherry Samuels said. “We’ll get to see new instinctual behaviors from pups and parents.”

Speaking of dad, Adeyha has started to be more and more involved with the day-to-day raising of pups. We observed via the den camera that Adeyha was more-than-usually interested in the pups from soon after their birth, often making space for himself during rainy days or even bringing rats to the pups.

“Adeyha has been very engaged with the pups since their birth,” Samuels said. “Perhaps more than he should have been. His instincts are good, as he is gentle and attentive, his timing was just a bit early in his engagement.”

Sweet and enthusiastic though it may be, Adeyha started his fatherhood duties a little earlier than is usual.

While the precarious first 30 days have passed, it’s important to remember there’s still a lot at stake regarding the pups. As was mentioned in an earlier Pupdate, recommendations for this family’s future will be made at this summer’s American Red Wolf SAFE planning meeting. Please stay tuned for more from the wolf yard!