One way scientists are trying to save the red wolf population from extinction is to “cross foster” 10-14 day old red wolf pups. Because they are so sparsely distributed, genetic inbreeding is threatening the remaining population.
Wolf biologists have found they can bring two wolf pups from captive populations and replace them with two wolf pups in the wild — as long as both are about 10-14 days old. The parents can obviously smell the new pups are not theirs, but it doesn’t seem to matter. They successfully raise all their pups — and the new pups will bring genetic diversity to their new homes. To learn more, go to Wolf.org — the International Wolf Center.
The International Wolf Center (wolf.org) just introduced new wolf pup Rieka. You can see her on their two wolf pup cams! They also have great info on their YouTube channel.
Because Rieka is a solo pup — the International Wolf Center is taking care not to “spoil” her. Normal pups compete against each other for resources and learn they can’t have anything they want the second they want it. A wolf pup who doesn’t learn this will have trouble when introduced into a wolf pack — as is the plan for Rieka.
Apparently “divas” come in both human and wolf varieties!
In Yellowstone, usually 70% of pups survive. When more survive, they typically don’t get as much to eat because their pack can’t keep up with all calories needed as pups grow quickly. This past winter (2020-2021), most of the Yellowstone wolf pups survived. Thank heavens, because the governors of the states surrounding Yellowstone are letting hunters get away with killing as many wolves as they can find.