Across the pool, watch the grizzly bear search for hidden treats under a fallen log. Check out the size of his claws! A short walk later, peek through pine branches at the rare red wolf. Learn about these North American predators and what the NC Zoo is doing for their protection and conservation.
This shy canine suffered huge population and habitat losses throughout the 20th century, and was placed on the Endangered Species List in 1967. The species continued to decline, resulting in a 1973 decision to remove them from the wild and place them in captivity for breeding purposes. By 1980, there were no red wolves in the wild. In 1987, red wolves were reintroduced to the wild at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. This reintroduction marked the first attempt to reintroduce a carnivore declared extinct in the wild to a portion of its former range. Today, a free-ranging population of red wolves inhabits about one and one-half million acres of federal, private and state lands in northeastern North Carolina.
The grizzly bear is actually a brown bear. Weighing 330-825lbs, the brown bear’s size varies greatly depending on where it lives and what it eats. Grizzly populations occur in northwestern North America. Many have white or silver tipped hair, giving them a "grizzled appearance." Brown bears are distinguished from black bears by their large shoulder hump, long front claws and concave facial profile. The largest brown bears, living in Alaska, eat protein-rich salmon, but many brown bears feed primarily on plant material. Their long claws are useful for digging up roots and tubers.
This shy, mid-sized bear has several color variations including chocolate brown, cinnamon brown, cream and blue. Black bears typically weigh 100-600lbs. While much of their original range has been taken over by human settlement, black bears once occupied forests, woodlands and wetlands across most of North Carolina. Black bears are opportunistic feeders that eat what is easily available. Primarily vegetarian, they eat nuts, berries, acorns and grasses, roots, insects and grubs. Occasionally they feed on fish, carcasses and young mammals. All bears are tempted by food and trash left behind by humans.