Rocket the red wolf makes his debut at Mill Mountain Zoo
The red wolf exhibit has reopened
The Red Wolf Exhibit at Mill Mountain Zoo has reopened with a new resident who is making his public debut. ‘Rocket’ is three and a half years old, was the runt of the litter, and was given special care by his mother but has grown up pretty well. Rocket has lived at the zoo for most of his life and now has moved in next door to Hyde the Black Bear. Zoo keepers say now that he is an adult Rocket enjoys playing with bamboo branches and splashing in the water.
Red Wolves are listed as threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 in 1967 and are currently listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Mill Mountain Zoo participates in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) which hopes to conserve the species and create a public passion for the red wolf.
Red wolves are endangered
A 2020 Facebook post says the mountain is home to 9 red wolves! Niki Voudren the Executive Director of Mill Mountain Zoo told WDBJ7 the following: "We are so proud to have a family of red wolves because there are only about 20 in the wild, and about 250 red wolves in captivity at accredited organizations like us to help keep the species alive,”
A study was done to determine if red wolves were actually wolves because many of them mated with coyotes. There was concern that they were no longer a separate species. In 2019, however the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded the opposite by stating that red wolves were a separate species.