Female red wolves only go into estrus once each year, so all pups are born sometime the end of March through the end of May. At last summer’s red wolf management meeting we placed some captive wolves at this holding facility in Manteo. The hope was that the wolves would have pups and that the Wildlife Biologists there would be able to foster some of the pups to a pair of wild wolves. This is the best way to get wolves from the captive population into the wild population.
It has been done successfully in the past: Pups born in captivity are matched with wolves in the wild who have had a litter of their own around the same time. Wildlife Biologists must “foster” the captive pups before their eyes open, so the first thing they see would be their new parents and siblings. It’s amazing.
Since these four pups were born on the early side, the Wildlife Biologists have not located any wild wolves with litters- it’s just too early. Therefore, these four pups will likely stay in the captive population for the rest of their lives.