DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Three of four critically endangered red wolf pups on the loose at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham after getting out of their habitat enclosure have been safely reunited with their parents, officials have confirmed.
Officials said four 7-week-old pups being held in the enclosure had gotten out of their enclosure on Monday. Six pups were born earlier this year, but two of the pups born with the litter died shortly after birth.
While the four pups were outside their enclosure, they remained within the museum’s perimeter fence.
Staff noticed on Monday evening that the adult red wolves were at the edge of their enclosures interacting and feeding the pups outside the habitat enclosure fencing, according to a press release. Staff were able to safely recapture and reintroduce three of the four pups with their parents.
One female remains outside the enclosure but still within the museum’s perimeter fence. Staff were able to “visually confirm” on Monday that the pup is still on the property.
Officials said that staff did not witness the four pups escape, but they may have been able to leave through a small space in the enclosure gate or through an enlarged opening in the fence.
Extra food and water where pups have been spotted have been deployed as part of the museum’s recapture effort. Humane traps specifically designed for live capture have also been placed on the museum grounds.
A portion of the museum’s campus has been closed and Ellerbe Creek Railway operations have been suspended as the search continues.
The red wolves’ coloring allows them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings, making finding the pups a difficult task.