SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s an exciting time at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls. Not only is it celebrating its 60th anniversary, the zoo is also celebrating the births of six new red wolf puppies.
The six red wolf puppies were born in early May.
While mom, Camellia rests in the shade, dad Uyosi paces back and forth standing guard over his new pups that are hunkered down inside this man made den on Friday.
Joel Locke, who is director of animal care, says red wolves are rare.
“So in captivity there are well over 200 of them in captivity in human care, so for us having them honestly, is very nice to have this species to be able to educate the public on how rare this species is,” Locke said.
Experts estimate there are possibly 20 to 30 in the wild and those are only in North America.
Locke says the Red Wolf Safe organization keeps track of red wolves in the U.S. and gets to decide what happens to those in captivity.
Ali Delvaux, 12, loves wolves, especially after hearing about the new born puppies.
“I’d like to see one, pick it up and hug it,” Delvaux said.
We are told the puppies are in good health and all are expected to survive, but as cute as they are, they probably won’t be staying in Sioux Falls.
“That’s really up to Red Wolf Safe they are the ones who make the decision on where the puppies go along with US Fish and Wildlife, so that’s kind of out of our hands,” Locke said.
The zoo will hold them for a little while, so you’ll get a chance to see them once they get a little older and start wandering outside of their den to begin exploring their surroundings.
“But in the end the plan would be to get them to other facilities for breeding purposes in order to continue to have more red wolves in the U.S.,” Locke said.
But Camellia and Uyosi will stay here and perhaps continue to have more puppies.
“He was a great father this time around and a first time father and she is a first time mother, so I would hopefully like them to breed again but in the end that’s not our call to make,” Locke said.
Locke says the red wolves are the most endangered animal they have at the zoo.