Born in late April, a litter of four red wolf pups have been living in ZooTampa at Lowry Park as if they were living in the wild, the zoo said in a release.
The pups, which steal the eyes and hearts of visitors, do receive some benefits their estimated 40 other red wolves that live in the wild do not —vaccinations and weight checks, which the zoo said it conducted Thursday for the first time.
"They’re all in great condition and progressing really, really well," said Chris Massaro, a general curator at ZooTampa.
Massaro said the best time to view the red wolves is early in the morning and late at night, right before the park closes.
All four of the pups are named after places in Florida. The boys are named Conner, after the Conner Preserve; Yulee and Reddinton, while the lone girl, Boca, is named after Boca Raton.
Red wolves are native of Florida and are the most critically endangered wolf species in the world, with only around 200 red wolves remaining in zoos and reintroduction areas.
The zoo said red wolves were historically hunted by ranchers to near extinction for fear they would attack livestock. As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, ZooTampa says it is helping to ensure the red wolf population can continue despite serious threats to those in the wild.