Red Wolf M1803 (affectionately nicknamed “Moose”) has a personality that matches his nickname and large frame. Born to F1397 (“Witchhazel”) in 2010, M1803 was the largest of the litter – his brother, M1804, was much smaller in size.
At a few years of age M1803 was transferred to the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut to be with his predetermined mate, F1563. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all red wolves descended from just 14 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of red wolf breeding pairs and M1803 and F1563 were a great match on paper. Luckily, they proved to be a loving pair in real life.
He first fathered a litter with F1563 in 2014 and wolf supporters rejoiced as the pair gave birth to three pups. The new family soon grew too large for their enclosure and they were transferred back to the WCC; our supporters (and M1803’s mother, F1397) were extremely excited to welcome the newest residents.
It’s been non-stop parenting for M1803. F1563 gave birth to a litter of five pups in 2015 and M1803 was a doting father and husband, frequently bringing food to his mate and allowing his pups to climb all over him. What a great guy!
Unfortunately, the past week has been bittersweet for M1803. His loving companion, F1563, passed away on April 31, 2016, leaving behind her mate and six children. Her family, along with WCC staff and a global fan base, mourned her loss but was comforted by the unwavering presence of M1803. He has continued to play the role of benevolent patriarch, joining his yearling pups in celebrating their first birthday on May 2nd and leading many melodious howls.
So join us in sending congratulatory howls to Moose for persevering through trying times and providing strong leadership for a new generation of red wolves. Happy birthday, M1803!