ASHEVILLE — A red wolf that was part of a short-lived program to reintroduce the species to the wild has died at a nature center in Asheville.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that 14-year-old Rufus died Saturday at the WNC Nature Center, where he had lived since 2008.
Allison Ballentine with the center says Rufus was fine Friday and likely died overnight of natural causes.
Rufus fathered 14 pups and was grandfather to the four red wolf pup born at the center last May. Their mother, Mayo, was Rufus' last pup. She lives at the nature center with her two female and two male pups, and their father, Phoenix.
The wolves at the center are now six of an estimated 320 red wolves alive today.