Red Wolf

Endangered

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Description

The red wolf is a smaller cousin of the gray wolf, being gray and black with a red tint.

Height: About 26 inches at shoulders.

Length: 4.5-5.5 feet long (including the tail).

Weight: 50-80 lbs.

Lifespan: 6-7 years in the wild; up to 15 years in captivity.

Location

Red wolves range throughout the southeastern U.S. from Pennsylvania to Florida and as far west as Texas.

Behavior

Red wolves are nocturnal. They communicate by scent marking, vocalizations, facial expressions and body postures. Red wolves are secretive animals, they often hunt alone or in a small pack. When a male and female mate, they tend to become paired for life. Red wolves have 2-9 pups in a litter.

Threats

Threats to the red wolf include habitat loss due to human development, severe weather, deaths by motor vehicles, and illegal killings.

Protection

Almost hunted to the brink of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rounded up fewer than 20 pure red wolves to be bred in captivity in 1980. As of 2007, approximately 207 captive red wolves reside at 38 captive breeding facilities across the United States. Thanks to these programs, more than 50 red wolves currently live in the wild.

Captive-born red wolf pups are given to wild red wolf mothers and pups during a method called "fostering".

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