Red Wolf SSP meeting update

July was the Red Wolf SSP Master Plan meeting. It was hosted by White Oak. White Oak is an amazing facility- check them out and what they do. On my way in, I drove by a crash of rhinos (I love that a group of rhinos is called a crash). Outside my room was a river on one side and a herd of Somali Wild Ass on the other.

Red Wolf SSP logo.The photo is of 2 wolf pups born at the Museum in 2002 with their father.


The meeting is always held the mid to end of July. By this point in the year, pups have been born and we know if they’ve survived the critical first six weeks of life. It also gives the necessary follow up time to complete and approve the transfer and breeding recommendations. Wolf transfers typically occur in October and November. The temperatures are cooler for physicals and moving, but yet get wolves to new locations before breeding season.

During the meeting we spend a couple days hearing from a variety of presenters. This year, in addition to over 25 people from cooperating institutions that house red wolves, we heard from the following groups or people:

Arkansas State University recently changed its mascot to the Red Wolf. In doing so, the University has also made a commitment to partner in red wolf conservation. Dr. Risch, a professor at ASU, spoke to us about the depository being created –  “We will catalog all specimens and provide valuable research guidance to Red Wolf SSP participants in ongoing breeding and protection efforts,”

C2S2, Conservation Centers for Species Survival, was also present at the meeting. Discussions took place the day before our meeting about how C2S2 could come on board and help red wolf conservation.

My peers at fellow institutions talked about education planning, marketing, staff development, husbandry manual progress, capacity building, and much more. I really enjoy catching up with friends from other facilities.

During our lunch break on the first day we got a tour of White Oak. It was hard to go back to our work tables after seeing the grounds and animals at White Oak.

The meeting always ends with our population management and genetics discussion, followed by the beginning of the breeding and transfer recommendations. There is rarely enough time to finish the recommendations, and that was no different this year. We should know for sure in September what the plan is for our current wolves. Whether some stay or go, or new wolves come to the Museum, we’ll be ready to do our part to keep the red wolf from going extinct. When the plans are set we’ll share them.

White papers on the wall represent each institution hosing red wolves and the colored sticky notes represent each wolf in the population. It’s a great way for us to visualize all the wolves, pens, facilities, and space.



1 response to Red Wolf SSP meeting update

  1. Brian says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This blog entry explained so much. On a visit to Ross Park zoo last year, it was fascinating to learn from keepers how the U.S. zoos and animal conservation facilities band together like this to save a species. I don’t think the Species Survival Plans are well known by the general public visiting zoos.

    Excited to hear an entire university has changed its mascot to the red wolf. My family convinced a middle school in Loudoun County, Virginia to also rally around the red wolf this year since the wolf is its school mascot!

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