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February 01, 2021

Saint Louis Zoo Makes Decisive Move to Save American Red Wolves 

The American red wolf is staring down extinction, with only about 20 left in the wild. Responding to an urgent call to keep this species from going extinct, we are transforming part of our land in Franklin County, Mo., into a conservation habitat where 24 American red wolves will live and breed in a private, protected natural setting. The Zoo is developing approximately 20 acres of the 355-acre property, known as the Saint Louis Zoo Sears Lehmann, Jr. Wildlife Reserve, with separately secured habitats for 12 mating pairs of wolves in 2021. The wolves will come from other conservation organizations in 2022. The campus will not be open to visitors in order for the wolves to learn natural survival skills without much human interaction in the secured facility.

The wild population of American red wolves has been decimated, with the majority of deaths caused by humans, including illegal hunting, vehicle strikes and habitat loss.

The Zoo is collaborating on this critical conservation project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which is responsible for managing the wild American red wolf population and reintroduction efforts in the eastern U.S., as well as with the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), a science-based global initiative taking collective action to save animals from extinction. The Endangered Wolf Center has generously shared its 50 years of expertise and advice related to the location and construction of the Zoo’s new wolf habitats.

The Saint Louis Zoo American red wolf conservation and recovery facility is supported by private donations from Kevin Beckmann and an anonymous donor and received USFWS Recovery Challenge grant funding through C2S2.  

To read the full story, click here.