The Akron Zoo has welcomed two new red wolves, Waya and Mohe. The male wolves arrived from Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo in Greenbay, Wisconsin and are now out in the zoo’s red wolf habitat daily.
Waya, which means “wolf” in Cherokee, and Mohe, meaning “elk” in Cherokee, are four years old. The brothers were born on May 22, 2014 at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo.
Red wolves are one of the world’s most endangered canids, with only 60 wolves estimated to be left in the wild. Native to the eastern U.S., red wolves can now only be found in one protected area in North Carolina. Red wolf numbers have rapidly declined in past years due to predator control programs, as the red wolf is often mistaken for a coyote.
The Akron Zoo partners with the Red Wolf Coalition – an organization that focuses on raising awareness and protecting red wolves in the wild – and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to protect the species through the Red Wolf Recovery program. On Nov. 5, a federal judge ruled that red wolves in the wild will continue to reside in their protected reserve in North Carolina, a huge victory in the protection of the species.
The Akron Zoo also participates in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), a scientifically-based breeding program to ensure a healthy, genetically-diverse population of red wolves in zoos. The Akron Zoo participates in 45 SSP programs as an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility.
With Waya and Mohe’s arrival, the zoo’s current male red wolf, Itabi, who arrived at the Akron Zoo in 2016, has moved to Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo with a breeding recommendation from the Red Wolf SSP.