Source: News and Observer

The American red wolf faced extinction in 1980, but now the rare species is making a comeback in Asheboro. According to the News and Observer, five new pups were born in the North Carolina Zoo on April 21: three males and two females.

Oak, Cedar, Sage, Lily and Aster are doing well, according to the zoo, and are named after flora from North Carolina. 

According to the News and Observer, only 15 to 20 red wolves live outside captivity in eastern North Carolina. In 2006, that number was as high as 130. The species was declared extinct in 1980 after loss of habitat and hunting, and programs to conserve and reintroduce them failed. Breeding programs across the country have played a role in ensuring they don’t completely go extinct.

The latest births makes the North Carolina Zoo’s breeding program the second-largest in the United States, with 25 total wolves. 

“The pups are being kept in a quiet, non-public viewing area of the zoo and have minimal contact with staff and keepers,” the zoo said, according to the News and Observer. “This allows their mother to raise the pups with the least amount of stress in a natural habitat.”

Read the full story of Oak, Cedar, Sage, Lily and Aster from the News and Observer.