RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two of the five red wolf puppies born at the North Carolina Zoo in the wake of severe weather have died.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports zoo officials say the pups, named Hurricane and Typhoon, were euthanized after they received traumatic injuries caused by their father. The zoo said the dad, named Finnick, was relocated to protect the survival of the remaining puppies.

Veterinary staff workers are conducting a pathology test to assess the health of the pups at the time of their death.

The pups were kept in a quiet, non-public viewing area of the zoo to minimize contact with humans and allow the mother, six-year-old Ayita, to raise the pups with minimal stress in a natural habitat.

“One of the reasons that these pups are being raised in a quiet, off-viewing area is to try and prevent this type of incident,” said Chris Lasher, animal management supervisor at the zoo and species survival plan coordinator for the wolves. “But even with these precautions, we are not always successful in preventing these types of losses that are known to occur in both the wild settings and for wolves under human care.”

Zoo officials were relieved when three female and two male puppies were born in April during the weekend when severe thunderstorms and a tornado swept through the Triad.

With the deaths and the father’s relocation, the zoo’s red wolf pack now totals 21.

“While a setback like this is difficult for our team to experience, the three remaining pups represent an important step forward for the species,” said Roger Sweeney, general curator for the zoo. “We remain focused on fighting to preserve a place for this iconic American species.”

In April, one of three red wolf pups born at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham died.

Feature photo credit, North Carolina Zoo: Five red wolf pups born at the North Carolina Zoo on April 15, 2018. 

Copyright 2018, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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