GOLDEN POND, Ky., June 18 (UPI) -- A month and a half after being born, a still wobbly red wolf pup emerged from its den for a morning stretch of her two front legs -- proving once again that baby animals are adorable.
But more than just adorable, the pup's birth in captivity is good news for red wolf supporters, maintaining the blood line of a male red wolf pushing 13 years of age. Most red wolves don't live past 14.
Born May 2, 2014, at just three-fourths of a pound, the little female pup is still finding her footing at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Golden Pond, Kentucky, her every move followed and watched attentively by her parents.
"As she gets older and braver, the little pup will become more visible," said Darrin Samborski, the facility manager at the recreation area's Woodlands Nature Station. "Right now she is still hard to see."
The still unnamed pup will stay under the care of her proud parents for another 18 months, at which point she will be transferred to another nature park or zoo to start her own family.
Red wolves used to populate the American South in great numbers before the arrival of European settlers drastically altered the landscape. Today, the only wild red wolves are a small population resolved an isolated corner of northeast North Carolina.
"Coyotes and humans are direct competitors for resources with the shy red wolf," explained John Pollpeter, the rec area's lead naturalist. "They can only exist in areas where both are low in population."