COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two wolf pups born earlier this month in South Carolina have been named for comedian Stephen Colbert and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
The State newspaper reported that managers at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in Charleston County said the pups are expected to go on public display in several weeks.
"Colbert" and "Jewell" were among six pups born April 8 at the Sewee Visitors Center. One was stillborn and a second died shortly after birth.
The two other pups have been taken to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
"I'm glad we were able to help the wild population at Alligator River. That is first and foremost our goal, to help the genetic diversity in the red wolf population," said refuge manager Sarah Dawsey.
Project leader Raye Nilius says Secretary Jewell visited Cape Romain in November.
"Secretary Jewell came here last year and we were so impressed with her, and she was such a supportive secretary, we felt it was a great honor to name one of the pups after her," Nilius said
"We also really enjoy Stephen Colbert," Nillis said. Colbert, who grew up in Charleston, is the host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" and will replace David Letterman on CBS next year.
Red wolves born at Cape Romain have been sent to Alligator River as part of a program to re-establish the endangered canines in the wild. Since the late 1980s, more than two dozen wolves have been born at Cape Romain.
Red wolves are among the rarest animals in the country, with only several hundred surviving. Their populations dropped as a result of hunting, habitat loss, and more recently, interbreeding with coyotes.