Captive Breeding Facilities

Without a managed captive breeding program, the red wolf would have continued its rapid slide to oblivion. But the Species Survival Program (SSP), established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 1981, designated three facilities to cooperate in conserving this rare species of wolf. All red wolves are descended from just 14 founders. Thus, today, 44 approved zoos and wildlife centers throughout the U.S. manage the red wolf population as a genetic reservoir. While the need to infuse the wild population with more adult wolves has diminished as wild red wolves continue to reproduce successfully, these SSP facilities support interactive management with the USFWS Red Wolf Recovery Program by developing innovative techniques such as cross-fostering pups from SSP facilities to wild litters, allowing wild red wolves raise the pups with their own wild-born offspring. Additionally, the SSP facilities coordinate research in genome banking, assisted reproduction, behavior studies and veterinary medicine.