Mill Mountain Zoo’s Red Wolf Exhibit Reopens and Welcomes Rocket!

Mill Mountain Zoo’s Red Wolf Exhibit has a new resident. Though new to visitors, three-and-a-half-year-old Rocket has actually lived at the Zoo for much of his life. Rocket arrived at Mill Mountain Zoo from the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina in January of 2020 with his family group, which included his parents, three brothers, and two sisters.

Mill Mountain Zoo participates in The American Red Wolf SAFE Project, which is committed to the conservation efforts for the American Red Wolf. These efforts include maintaining a healthy and viable population of red wolves under human care, growing education and awareness efforts, and aiding research vital to supporting the recovery and management of the species.

Mill Mountain Zoo currently has five red wolves in their guardianship and is one of only 42 institutions in the United States where red wolves can be found.

As the runt of the litter, Rocket’s mom took special care of him when he was a pup. “She would take him off to nurse by himself so he wouldn’t have to compete with his siblings,” said Erika Banter, Zookeeper. Now an adult, Rocket enjoys playing with bamboo branches and splashing in water whenever he gets the chance.

“In the wild, red wolves normally begin to leave their family groups at around two years of age. We recently decided to move Rocket out of his group to better manage a medical condition that he recently developed,” said Robin Lentz, Director of Animal Programs at Mill Mountain Zoo.

Make a trip to Mill Mountain Zoo to meet Rocket, who can often be seen resting in the shade or watching his new neighbor, Hyde, Mill Mountain Zoo’s black bear.

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