Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 pup season drawing to a close

As the days grow longer and hotter during spring’s transition into summer, field biologists with the Red Wolf Recovery Program also begin a transition. April and early May represent the ever busy denning season, during which biologists spend the majority of their time creeping through the woods in search of newborn red wolf puppies. The current tally of litters found this year stands at eight, a bit of a disappointment after finding 11 litters a year ago. But this year's pup count is 39, which was close to last year's 41 pups. In addition, two captive born pups were flown in from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and fostered into a wild litter to be raised by wild parents . Fostering captive born pups into wild litters is a technique we have used for several years now (with great success!) as a method of both increasing the red wolf population and preserving genetic diversity.

Now, as summer approaches and the pups get older, the search for additional dens will diminish as biologists begin to make the transition to summertime trapping, maintenance, and catching up on office work. We will, however, continue to monitor the wolf packs throughout the summer months for evidence of potential litters that may have been missed during the denning season. -- Ryan

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