Written by Anthony Borrelli
BINGHAMTON — The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park has welcomed a new family of animals and they like their meat rare.
Three red wolves, a 12-year-old mother and her 7-year-old daughters, arrived last month and have set about prowling their 2 1/2 acre wooded ground at the zoo.
The newest addition was announced Wednesday. With about 175 remaining nationwide, red wolves are considered a critically endangered species.
“We’re really excited to have these three girls,” said animal curator Dave Orndorff, after offering them a late lunch of raw meatballs with a little Parmesan cheese mixed in.
The mother, Momma, and her daughters, Piglet and Miku, will reside on one side of Wolf Woods, while the zoo’s 13-year-old gray wolf, Remus, will occupy his own area.
Each wolf has a unique personality, Orndorff said.
“Being a family group, they socially interact together,” he said. “Red wolves are a little more stress-filled of an animal, so when they’re together they tend to stay close.”
Red wolves are considered one of the rarest canids in the world. Listed as Extinct in the Wild in 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caught 14 of the remaining population to be housed in a captive breeding facility. In 1987, the USFWS reintroduced them into eastern North Carolina.
The red wolves, which live 10 to 12 years in the wild and at least 18 in captivity, came to Binghamton from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.
“Our ultimate goal is to keep them at the Binghamton zoo for as long as possible,” Orndorff said.