This 3-year-old red wolf is very excited to start her own pack and her own family. It is no easy task to find your mate when the population is so low. She knows some wolves have resorted to coyotes which are terrible for the health of the species. She is grateful that she can roam in her park though. Her ancestors had it much harder with humans sending them right to the brink. Some of them want to help her now, she just hopes they will all protect her.
The most endangered member of the dog family, the red wolf needs a lot of help with an estimated fewer than 30 left in the wild. The only place they can now be found in the wild is the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina. They once roamed throughout the Southeast but were intensely hunted in the 19th and early 20th century and their habitat was severely degraded. In 1980, the species was declared extinct in the wild but through intense conservation, they have started to come back.
Wolves are incredibly social and form very close packs. The red wolf pack usually is made up of a breeding pair who will mate for life, and their offspring from various litters, forming a pack of 5-8 wolves. The parents will breed once a year producing a litter of 2-6 pups. The pups are completely helpless for the first few weeks of their life and need constant supervision. They are kept safe in dens hidden near stream banks, downed logs, sand knolls, or drain pipes. The older offspring will help their parents with their new pups, keeping an eye on the den. When they reach the age of 1-3, they will leave the pack and head out to find their own mate.
Red wolves are very shy animals and fiercely territorial. They will defend their territory from many animals including other wolves. They are mainly nocturnal and communicate with each other by using scent marks, vocalizations such as howling, facial expressions, and body postures.
These wolves were saved in the 1970s through the efforts of a captive breeding programme. 14 surviving wolves were taken to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium between 1974 and 1980. With the success of this programme, conservationists were able to successfully reintroduce the wolves to the wild. 63 grew to 100-120 individuals in 2012. Sadly, regulations such as releasing captive-bred wolves and sterilization of coyotes to prevent hybrid animals from hurting their gene pool were not enforced and the population plummeted to just 14 known individuals in 2019. A big threat to their survival is the shooting and poisoning of wolves by landowners.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/