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3 of 4 red wolf pups captured at Durham’s Museum of Life and Science: What brought them back

Three pups escaped from their pen at the Museum of Life and Science around 10:45 a.m. Monday, leaving a fourth pup and the parents inside the habitat at the Durham museum.
Three pups escaped from their pen at the Museum of Life and Science around 10:45 a.m. Monday, leaving a fourth pup and the parents inside the habitat at the Durham museum. courtesy of Museum of Life and Science

Three red wolf pups who slipped out of their habitat enclosure at the Museum of Life and Science on Monday have been safely captured, the museum announced Tuesday.

Staff members saw the parent wolves near the edge of their enclosure interacting and feeding the pups through the fence, according to a news release.

The pups were given a hands-on health check for abrasions and dehydration. While no injuries or dehydration were noted, fluids were administered as a precautionary measure, the news release said.

One female pup continues to remain outside the habitat enclosure but inside the perimeter fence surrounding the museum’s entire outdoor campus. On Monday, the museum had said three pups were missing.

Staff members are offering extra food and water where the pups have been spotted and humane traps specially designed for live capture have also been placed onsite.

Additionally, a wildlife biologist with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Program in Manteo will join the museum Tuesday afternoon to assist with the search.

“We are hopeful that the remaining female pup will seek out her parents much as her siblings did yesterday and we will be able to facilitate a very calm reintroduction,” museum spokeswoman Leslie Pepple said in the release.

Staff did not see the pups first leaving the exhibit on Monday, however it is believed they may have exited through a small space in the enclosure gate or an enlarged opening in the fence.

The red wolf pups do not pose any danger to the general public. Red wolves are notoriously shy and will largely avoid large crowds, loud noises, and human contact. As the animal care team works to reunite the pups with their parents, a large portion of the Museum's outdoor campus including the Dinosaur Trail, Explore the Wild, and Catch the Wind exhibit areas will remain closed. The Ellerbe Creek Railway will also remain closed.

In the unlikely event that visitors spot the remaining pup, Museum officials ask the public not to approach the pup but to contact a staff member and report time and location.

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