Rescuers Fly Critically Endangered Red Wolf to New York to Help the Species Bounce Back

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Wolf populations across the United States are facing endangerment as a whole, but none are in more trouble than the American red wolf. As of now, there are just 19-20 wild red wolves remaining in the U.S. However, in an effort to rebuild the population, rescuers have transported a single endangered red wolf to New York. There, conservationists hope she’ll mingle with residents of the state’s Wolf Conservation Center (WCC).

According to People, a non-profit called Pilots to the Rescue partnered with the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. Together, they transported an endangered red wolf named Sage. Per the outlet, Sage is a captive red wolf who previously resided in North Carolina, where the species is most prevalent.

Experts identified the female as an “excellent” potential breeding partner for the WCC’s male red wolf, Jaques. The move is a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Rebecca Bose, a curator at the WCC, spoke about the organization’s efforts at length.

“Every year, all the participating SSP facilities get together…typically in July. One of the major tasks at this meeting is to create breeding pairs for the following season with the goal of new pups supporting the captive and wild populations.”

Per Bose’s statement, Jaques and Sage made for a good genetic match, and rescuers are hoping the couple will help bolster the population with new healthy pups.

The WCC doesn’t only work with red wolves but also works to help conserve all wolf species on the planet.

Rare Red Wolf Sighting Sees Small Pack Howling at the Moon

What makes the red wolf so special compared to its cousin, the gray wolf? Well, first of all, they’re the rarest species of wolf in the world. In addition, they, unlike gray wolves, are only found in North America. So, capturing video footage of a small pack of red wolves howling at the moon is truly a remarkable feat.

Last month, a mother and her two pups were seen howling together in North Carolina. The photographer that captured the clip, Jennifer Hadley, wrote in her Instagram post, “To observe these critically endangered Red Wolves in the wild is always a privilege but late one evening right before dark I was treated with mom and two of her pups all howling into the night sky.”

Per her account, the trio of canines was also joined by other pups and “perhaps dad.”

Regardless, she continued, “These are truly American wolves. Gray wolves exist in all sorts of places all over the world, but not these. They were original to the U.S. and have remained that way.”

Compared to the gray wolf, which can weigh as much as 180 pounds, the red wolf tends to measure just 45 to 80 pounds. They also boast a much smaller frame and only reach up to four feet in length.