Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is the new home just this year to an eight-year-old female Red Wolf named Kawoni. In the Cherokee language, Kawoni means “Flower Moon.” May’s full moon falls on Thursday, May 7 and is known as the Flower Moon. Kawoni was born in May of 2012.
Kawoni joins the Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s existing male Red Wolf, named Peanut, in the Red Wolf habitat.
Red wolves were brought to the brink of extinction in the wild due to hunting, trapping, poisoning and extreme competition with coyotes. With the help of zoos and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Species Survival Plan (SSP), wild Red wolves were captured and bred in zoos. In 1987 a reintroduction program was started in North Carolina. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo contributed eight wolf pups, bred right here in Bridgeport, to this reintroduction program.
Description: Red wolves are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs, often with a reddish color on their ears, head and legs. The tip of the tail is usually black too. They have pointy ears and broad muzzles, wide heads, and long slender legs.
Red Wolves grow up to 26 inches tall and adults average four feet in length from the tip of nose to the tip of the tail. Their weight ranges from 45 pounds to 85 pounds.
They have been known to travel up to 20 miles a day for food. They can reach speeds of up to 30 mph in short bursts when chasing prey.
Range: Although they were once found from central Texas to southern Pennsylvania to Florida, today the only place Red wolves can be found in the wild is in eastern North Carolina's Albemarle Peninsula.
Habitat: Dense mountain and bottomland forests, marshes, swamps, and coastal prairies.
Diet: Carnivore – They are generally solitary hunters of raccoons, and other small mammals like rabbits and mice. If hunting as a team they can bring down white-tailed deer or even cattle. They can eat up to five pounds of food a day.
Family Life: Red Wolves mate for life, and these pairs usually mate once a year, in February. Pups are usually born in April or May and concealed in well-hidden dens.
Red Wolves form close-knit packs and are highly social. These packs, which usually consist of a breeding pair and their offspring of various years, contain between five and eight individuals. The pack is a very close family unit. Older offspring will help the breeding male and female raise their younger siblings.
Within one to three years, the younger wolves will leave the pack in search of their own mates and territory.
Life Span: The average life span is 7 years in the wild and up to 15 years in human care.
Status: Critically Endangered