Salisbury Zoo Mourns Loss of Red Wolf - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Zoo Mourns Loss of Red Wolf

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(Photo: Salisbury Zoo) (Photo: Salisbury Zoo)
SALISBURY, Md.- The Salisbury Zoo has announced the death of one of its two female red wolves.

Officials said that on Thursday morning, zookeepers found the older of the zoo’s two female red wolves dead in her exhibit. Her death is believed to be the result of natural causes, officials said. The zoo’s veterinarian will perform a necropsy to better determine a cause of death.

Similar to medium-sized dogs, red wolves in captivity are expected to live between 10 and 15 years. The Salisbury Zoo’s red wolf was 13 at the time of her death, officials said. They added that she was the mother of five pups born in May of 2008. Four pups were sent to North Carolina Zoological Park, Western North Carolina Nature Center and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina.

In December of 2007 the zoo obtained a pair of red wolves, a male from North Carolina Zoological Park and a female from The Virginia Living Museum. The exhibit was formally opened on Earth Day, April 2008. Officials said that on that Saturday, more than 3,000 visitors poured into the Zoo to get a glimpse of its newest animal.

Native to the Delmarva Peninsula, the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980, a victim of misconceptions and government-sponsored hunting, officials said. Records from 1681 in Sussex County, Del., describe a bounty of 50 pounds of tobacco for a wolf’s head. The red wolf has been successfully reintroduced to protected areas in eastern North Carolina and is federally protected by the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association and The Association of Zoos & Aquariums cooperatively manage the species in the wild and in captivity through the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan.

Zoo staff will be working with the Red Wolf SSP over the next two months to determine the best moves to sustain both the captive population and the Salisbury Zoo red wolf program, officials said.

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