Red wolf exhibit opens at Charles Towne Landing

  • Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:10 p.m., Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 6:24 p.m.
One of the four red wolves which now populate a new exhibit at Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley. For more photos, go to postandcourier.com. Buy this photo

Four sisters had their coming- out party Tuesday morning, peeking their heads out and chasing each other behind a glass window.

The red wolf is native to the Southeast, roaming the area for centuries. Natural habitat is in grasslands, upland forest and swamps.

The average dimensions of the red wolf is: 44-65 inches long, 26-31 inches high, and weighing 50-80 pounds.

Most common staple of its diet is rodents, along with rabbits, raccoons and deer.

The red wolf is considered critically endangered.

Source: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism



Red wolf facts

Charles Towne Landing opened their new red wolf exhibit in the animal forest, the new home for four female red wolves.

Red wolves roaming today: 100+

Size of Charleston habitat: 9,000 square feet

Age of the red wolves in the exhibit: about 14 months

Distance from birthplace to new habitat: 847 miles

Facilities participating in Red Wolf Species Survival Plan: 42

Puppies born in one litter per year: 2-8

Cost of the new habitat: $60,000

Cost per year for supply and feed: $4,000

Life span of the red wolf in the wild: 6-8 years

Life span of the red wolf in captivity: 15 years

Source: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism



By the numbers

The popular park is now participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Program to protect the few remaining specimens, which had been declared extinct in the wild in 1980. Back in the 17th century, settlers in Charleston would have seen plenty of the red wolves.

“There are only over 100 alive,” said Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

“(The Red Wolf Species Survival Program) is very careful and meticulous because they don’t want to lose any.”

The 9,000-square-foot habitat design had to be approved by the survival program to house the four wolves. Criteria included a dig barrier that extends 3 to 4 feet into the ground to prevent them from burrowing out of the park, as well as quarantine areas in case one becomes sick. Along with creating the facility, the animal forest curator Jillian DeLorge-Davis took a red wolf education workshop last July.

In total, the cost of the construction, planning, signage and other factors for the habitat reached $60,000. Per year, the animal forest will need $4,000 for supply and feed in maintaining the habitat.

The wolves are a little more than a year old, born last May in the New York-based Trevor Zoo. Now that the wolves have a more stable home, DeLorge-Davis said the park is planning to name them.

“We’re going to change their names to something more (specifically) Carolina,” DeLorge-Davis said.

Names thrown around for consideration were local Indian names including Saluda, Chicora, Shawnee and Kiawah.

Park manager Rob Powell said the Southeast used to be crawling with red wolves as settlers entered the area.

“Historic writings that we have say the red wolves were numerous in this area,” Powell said.

The life span of the red wolf is six to eight years in the wild and 15 years in captivity.

If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the red wolves, it is important to know that they may not be moving around when you come.

“They mostly hunt at dawn and dusk,” DeLorge-Davis said.

“They’re napping a lot when it’s hot.”

DeLorge-Davis said the park tries to keep human interaction to a minimum so that they can prepare for living on their own. No plans for releasing the wolves have been determined so far.

Sue Kramer, board member of The Friends of Charles Towne Landing, joined other board members in peeking through the glass along with other park visitors.

“They’re beautiful. That’s for sure,” Kramer said.



Reach Nick Watson at 937-4810.

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