Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring brings red wolf pups!

Spring is a special time of year for the field biologists with the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are warming, and red wolves will soon be giving birth to pups!

These two female pups, born to the Kilkenny pack on or about April 18, 2010, were estimated to be about 7 to 8 days old when found. Red wolves rear their young in dens of shallow depressions with dense vegetation for cover or in deep burrows along the slopes of brushy windrows or canal banks. They also may create a den at the base of a large tree, which is where these two pups were found. Pregnant females may dig several dens during the breeding season. Den areas are used from April through July, corresponding to the whelping and pup-rearing periods. Litter sizes can range from 1 to 11 pups, with an average of four pups per litter.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are there alligators at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge?

This alligator is a frequent spring and summertime traffic stopper along the section of Highway 64 that cuts through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The photo was taken on a warm, sunny morning in early April when one of the first 'gator jams' of the season indicated that winter hibernation was officially over. Northeastern North Carolina represents the northern extent of the alligator's range in the United States. -- Ryan

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sandy Ridge entertainer moves to Jacksonville Zoo

Staff working at Sandy Ridge, the Red Wolf Recovery Program's captive-breeding facility at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, have been substantially less entertained as of late. On February 8, 2010, a male red wolf (SB#1390), known for antics ranging from strutting around and chewing on trees in an attempt to display his toughness to playing a game of "keep away" with an unsuspecting biologist’s backpack, was sent to the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. There he will be paired with his new lady-friend and put on display to share his antics with a wider audience than just refuge staff. The captive-breeding facility at Sandy Ridge is part of the Species Survival Plan® Program, and as such, is involved in an annual transfer of red wolves among zoos and facilities across the nation for breeding purposes and to maximize genetic diversity of the species. -- Ryan