Six red wolves are born at South Dakota zoo. They’re as important as they are adorable

Six red wolf pups were born at a South Dakota zoo in May, marking a possible turning point for the critically endangered species.

The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls announced Thursday, June 1, the pups were born in early May to parents Camelia and Uyosi. The litter — four males and two females — have not been named.

Camelia and Uyosi arrived at the zoo last fall as part of the Species Survival Plan, which places potential mates to help ensure the survival of the species. Camelia came from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, and Uyosi arrived from The Texas Zoo in Victoria, Texas.

The zoo called Camelia and Uyosi “amazing parents” and “vigilant caregivers.” In February, the red wolves were said to have already “created a strong bond” in their five months together.

The care of the pups is extra important, as red wolves are the “most endangered canid species in the world,” according to the zoo. There are only about two dozen red wolves that live in the wild.

Through the Species Survival Program, the hope is that these six red wolves can help bolster the wild population.

“So it’s very fun for us but it’s also really exciting for the zoo’s conservation) efforts and their species as a whole because every single wolf that is born is very, very valuable to their species,” zookeeper Angie Blommer told Dakota News Now.

The red wolf population was “decimated” in the early 1900s due to “intensive predator control programs” and the animals losing their habitat, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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