By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

All three of the rare red wolf pups at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham are back in their enclosure and with their parents after an escape that was discovered Monday morning.

“We are ecstatic,” said Leslie Pepple, the museum’s communications manager. “It’s the best possible outcome we could hope for.”

Six pups were originally born in late April to the museum’s six-year-old red wolf; two have died. Once common across the southeast, red wolves now are critically endangered. Only about 200 exist in captivity; another 40 or so live in the wild, at last count. The museum’s pups are among one of only five red wolf litters born in captivity in the United States this year.

Two male pups were found at dusk, Monday. The third pup, a female, remained out on her own overnight. Museum staff were able to reunite her with her family around noon, Tuesday. Like her brothers, the female pup returned to the outside of the enclosure.

“She came right up to her enclosure and she was able to be reunited with her parents,” Pepple said. “It was very seamless.”

Once the third pup was back inside the enclosure, the parents put all of the pups in a den in the exhibit.

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