ASHEBORO, N.C. -- The American Red Wolf is on the verge of extinction in the wild. There are only a few dozen left in a small area of northeast North Carolina.
But the North Carolina Zoo wants to ensure this species does not disappear completely.
Zookeepers have made great progress with a special breed area behind the scenes at the zoo. However, this past April they suffered a heartbreaking set back.
In April, five red wolf puppies were born at the Zoo, and they were healthy and thriving at 6 weeks old.
Then, one morning in late May, zookeepers discovered two of the wolf pups badly injured. They believe their father caused the injuries. The injuries were so severe that vets made the extremely difficult decision to put them down, especially considering how few of these animals exist.
The point of the breeding facility is to allow these wolves to live like they would in the wild. But now, zookeepers have separated them from the father and will be watching the three wolf pups closely.