The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to two red wolves: a male, Waya, and a female, Scarlet. The red wolves are managed in a completely different way than the
gray wolves, since the Zoo is part of carefully structured Species Survival Plan (SSP) administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Red wolves are one of the most critically endangered animals in the world, with only about 300 individuals in existence. Fear and misunderstanding caused red
wolves to be hunted mercilessly throughout their range, and the last remaining 14 animals were captured in the 1970s along the Texas-Louisiana border. These last
wolves were brought into captive breeding facilities and a comprehensive breeding plan (SSP) was begun to bring them back from the brink of extinction.
Today, there exists a reintroduced wild population of red wolves in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina (approximately 100 wolves),
with the 200 or so remaining wolves living in zoos and other captive environments. Since the possibility exists that Scarlet and Waya's second or third generation
puppies could be reintroduced into the wild, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo does not attempt to socialize these animals as we have the gray wolves.
In captivity, red wolves tend to be shy and withdrawn. The two red wolves at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, however, are both very bold, and are often visible from
the boardwalk of the Wildlife Trails section of the Zoo.
Don't miss the opportunity to visit Waya and Scarlet, and support the ongoing success story of restoring a species from extinction!
Born in 2005 at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY, Waya can be distinguished from "Scarlet" as the smaller of the two red wolves. Waya is less dominant
than Scarlet, but has acted boldly from time to time, too. For example, you may notice Waya exhibiting a "bowing" behavior, which is associated
with play between canids. When Waya does this to a human, however, he is testing for weakness. Waya is also known for being playful with food and enrichment
items in his exhibit, and has been seen tossing rabbit carcasses into the air. The best strategy for observing some of Waya's behavior is to remain quiet
and still while observing the exhibit and let him get comfortable with your presence.
Scarlet was also born in 2005, and she came from the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, NC. Scarlet is slightly larger than Waya, and has
beautiful distinctive eyes. She is bolder than Waya, and more dominant as well. Scarlet is often curious about the happenings in her exhibit, and the human
visitors and zookeepers that enter her world. She has also proven herself as an effective predator, and has caught several squirrels in her exhibit.
For more information about the wolves at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, please visit our website at
or call (315) 435-8511.