(CNN) — The North Carolina Zoo has welcomed three litters of red wolf pups, marking a dozen new members of the world’s most endangered wolf species.
The wolves were born in a three-day period at the end of April and are part of the zoo’s red wolf breeding program, the institution said in a press release.
“All of the cubs and their mothers are healthy and doing well. This is the first time in the zoo’s breeding program that three litters have been born in one spring,” the zoo said in the statement.
Next month, the zoo plans to announce a public poll to name one of the litters.
With the addition of the new cubs, the zoo’s breeding program now numbers 36 red wolves, making it the second-largest pack in the United States, after the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., he says. the press release.
“These births are important because many of our wolves, once mature, have been transferred to other breeding packs to continue helping bring this species back from near extinction. Our hope is that more and more wolves will soon be able to rejoin the wild.” red,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Red wolves began to decline in the United States due to intensive predator control programs and habitat decline, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and were “decimated by the early 20th century.” . The service began conservation and recovery efforts in the late 1960s.
To date, the service estimates there are about 25 wolves in the wild and 278 in captivity.
According to the zoo, all of the wild wolves are found in eastern North Carolina.