Monday, July 28, 2014

RWSSP of the month--Akron Zoo, host of 2014 RWSSP meeting

The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) is the foundation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. To let people know what’s happening throughout the program through, we are continuing to feature different RWSSP locations.  The RWSSP of the month is the Akron Zoo in Akron, Ohio.  In 1900, George and Ann Perkins donated 79 acres of land to be designated as a public park.  In 1979, the zoo changed its name to the Akron Zoological Park. In addition, the City of Akron turned over governance of the zoo to the Board of Trustees when the zoo became a non-profit organization.  The Zoo has expanded enormously in the past 30 years, adding numerous exhibits and features. In 2013, it opened its largest exhibit to date: the Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge exhibit, which features bald eagles, an aviary, grizzly bears, otters, red wolves and coyotes.

We are very excited to have Akron Zoo as one of the newest RWSSP locations, joining the network in 2013. Currently, they have two female sibling red wolves (1856F and 1857F) that were born in 2011 at Miller Park Zoo (Bloomington, IL).  These two new additions to the zoo bring a lot of new visitors!

Akron Zoo offers multiple programs and opportunities for folks to learn about the zoo including a variety of tours and programs including Keeper for a Day, and Zoo Veterinarian for a Day.  Please check out their website for more information.
Captive red wolf, Akron Zoo. Photo credit: R. Harrison/UFSWS.
Captive red wolf, Akron Zoo. Photo credit: R. Harrison/UFSWS.
Just last week, the Akron Zoo hosted the 2014 RWSSP annual meeting. More than 25 participants from 20 locations met over three days to discuss husbandry methods and techniques, current and ongoing red wolf research, and facility updates.  The majority the meeting is dedicated to examining all the available breeding wolves in the RWSSP network (across 40+ locations) to see if individuals need to be moved from facility to facility to form the best potential breeding pairs.  With more than 175 breeding red wolves in the captive population, this is no small feat.  Age, health history, genetic relatedness, and logistical difficulties of transferring animals are all taken into consideration when deciding new pairs.  We are hopeful for safe transfers, successful pairings, and more pups next spring!

A tied breeding red wolf pair during breeding season. Photo credit: Greg Dodge.
We would like to extend a big thank you to the RWSSP Coordinator, Will, for organizing everyone for the meeting and the Akron Zoo Curator of Mammals, Eric, to hosting us all!  Thank you to the staff, volunteers, and supporters at the Akron Zoo!!

Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information.