Reflection Riding Celebrates New, Endangered Red Wolf Puppies
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Two American Red Wolf puppies have made their first introduction at Reflection Riding. Less than 250 of those wolves are alive today.
The two pups, Romulus and Remus were born in April, and their veterinarian Dr. Keller, says they are doing exceptionally well. Dr. Keller continues, “They are very healthy and thriving. We have a lot of video, a lot of evidence of them moving around. They develop much in the same way as puppies do. So, these are roughly six and a half – seven week old puppies.”
Reflection Riding has been apart of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan since 1996 to help house and breed the wolves while they are endangered. “We have been very involved over the years. This is our fifth litter here… In an ideal world, what would happen is we would breed in captivity, and then take those puppies and repopulate the wild populations, the wild recovery areas. We’re very slowly beginning that process,” says Tish Gailmard, Director of Wildlife Conservation at Reflection Riding.
American Red Wolves were one of the first species listed on the Endangered Species Act back in 1973, and today still remains on the list. According to Wildlife Conservationist Gailmard, less than 20 American Red Wolves are on their own in the wild. One of the reasons for being so endangered is hunting.
Gailmard continues, “They do look similar to coyotes in appearance, so there is some mistaken identity. They do suffer from gunshot mortality for that reason. It’s habitat loss too.”
Gailmard says Reflection Riding educates people about the value of this animal, and how critical it is to the balance of ecology. She says, “Red Wolves will help keep the deer population in check. If you have too many deer on the landscape, then you have over-browsing, then you have erosion, then you don’t have any trees for birds to live in, and you don’t have any food for birds.”
Reflection Riding will be opening their animal enclosure later this summer, so the public can meet the newest wolves.