The Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo & Adventure Park is pleased to announce the arrival of 6 year old male American Red Wolf, Itabi, from the Akron Zoo in early November. Zookeepers from Akron and Green Bay met at a halfway point for a wolf exchange recommended in the Species Survival Plan for red wolves. Waya and Mohe, the last of the 6 wolves born at the NEW Zoo in 2014 (the others are all living at other AZA Zoos across the country), are adjusting well to their new life at the Akron Zoo (See a photo of them in their new home: https://www.cleveland.com/akron/2018/11/akron-zoo-welcomes-two-critically-endangered-red-wolves.html.)
NEW Zoo resident female, Mayo, greeted her new mate, Itabi, by rolling on her back within minutes of meeting him and they have been howling together daily since – definitely a good sign! Breeding season for American red wolves is typically from February through March so the newly formed couple should have plenty of time to get to know each other before doing their part to help increase the numbers of this critically endangered species.
The American red wolf, an iconic species found nowhere else on the planet, once roamed widely across the Southeastern United States. Today, only about 30 individuals remain in the wild. Although a reintroduction program and careful management resulted in initial success (the recovery program has been used as a model for several other reintroduction efforts for species such as the black-footed ferret), recent challenges have made survival difficult for wild wolves. Habitat loss and gunshot are both significant factors in the decline of the species in the wild. AZA Zoos, USFWS and other conservation partners hold about 200 red wolves in captivity and play a crucial part in the recovery effort. Days before Itabi arrived at the NEW Zoo, an important federal decision was issued that ensures current wild red wolf habitat is not further reduced.