BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Feb 13, 2023 – With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is in the air for animals at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s, especially for one of the resident bachelors: Peanut, the red wolf. The Zoo is now the new home for Taylor, an eight-year-old female red wolf, newly arrived from the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina. Taylor has spent the past several weeks in quarantine, required for all new arrivals, becoming accustomed to her new home. Once she was verified to be in excellent physical condition by the Zoo’s on-site veterinarian, Taylor was gradually introduced to Peanut.
Wolves, like people and other animals, have individual characteristics. “Taylor is very shy and it may take some time for her to be comfortable in her new surroundings,” explained General Curator Rob Tomas, adding that guests may not see her immediately, or only catch a glimpse of her at first.
Taylor and Peanut are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program, and the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Seeing a red wolf in the wild today is one of the rarest sights in nature. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Census of July 2022, a single population in eastern North Carolina remains, consisting of a total of 19-21 red wolves in the wild. There are 243 red wolves in AZA facilities across the United States.
Recovery efforts began in 1987 when the federal government reintroduced red wolves to the 150,000-acre Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. U.S. Fish and Wildlife introduced more than 100 wolves bred in human care into the refuge and saw the population peak at more than 225 wolves more than a decade ago. Their numbers have plummeted. Wolves have been shot by homeowners and farmers, hit by cars, and removed for doing what comes natural to wolves: roaming to find new territory. Today the only distinctly American wolf is losing its fight for survival.
“Taylor is a beautiful and healthy red wolf, and an important ambassador for her critically endangered species,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Welcoming Taylor to the Zoo gives us a platform for alerting our guests to the fragile state of red wolves in the wild. They have a very uncertain future, except in SSP programs in zoos.”
“The Zoo’s SSP breeding program exists to bolster the dwindling number of animals still in the wild,” explained Dancho. “It’s a real testament to our Zoo’s strong reputation for working to protect endangered species and to educate our guests about them. It’s an important part of our mission.”
Managed by the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP), inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity in the hope that successful breeding will take place.
Take a Romantic Tour Around the Zoo
The red wolves are one pair among several at the Zoo you can visit on the most romantic day of the year. Bring your sweetheart and visit:
North American River Otters: Sedge and Tahu
Spider Monkeys: Gilligan and his troop, Janet, Bertha, and TT
Saki Monkeys: Ollie and Harriet
Goeldi’s Monkeys: Monty and Jovi
Golden Lion Tamarins: Cricket and Leão
Howler Monkeys: Cain and his troop, Ella and Lina
Guinea Hogs: Harry and Doris
Boat-billed Herons: Burt and Lonnie
White-naped Cranes: McDuffy and Cora
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo appreciates the support it receives from local, regional and national media outlets. Media representatives are invited to tour