Critically endangered red wolf pups born at Lincoln Park Zoo

CHICAGO -- The Lincoln Park Zoo has added a new litter of Red Wolf pups to their family at Pritzker Family Children's Zoo.

The critically endangered breed of cubs were born on April 12, adding two males and two females to the pack.

The parents, Becca and Rhett, are part of a Red Wolf Species Survival Plan that brings together the efforts among the Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions to save species.

"Scientists estimate there are less than 30 red wolves left in their native habitat of North Carolina meaning species is on the very brink of extinction in the wild," said Curator Dan Boehm. "We could not be more ecstatic for the arrival of these pups to help save this species and bolster the population."

Red wolves are named for their red-tinged fur and are typically smaller than their 'cousin' grey wolves, weighing in around 90lbs, according the zoo officials. Native to the eastern United States, red wolves were driven toward extinction due to hunting. Conservationist say the species was targeted as a perceived threat to livestock, but research has shown the wolves primarily pursue non-domestic prey such as rabbits, deer, and small mammals.

Officials said this is the first litter for the zoo since 2010.

Lincoln Park Zoo is a not-for-profit center that focuses on global conservation, animal care and welfare, and learning and science. You can help support the new pups or any of the other animals at the zoo by donating items on the zoo's Wish List.