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ASHEVILLE, NC (AP) — Four rare red wolf pups have been born at a refuge in western North Carolina.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported the pups were born at the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

Center director Chris Gentile says the births last month increase the number of red wolves at the center to seven.

Officials think there are fewer than 400 red wolves left in the world.

The center’s 3-year-old female Mayo gave birth on May 9. The father, Phoenix, was brought in from a nature center in Albany, Ga. Officials say the two male and two female pups are part of a larger than usual litter for a first time mother.

Gentile says the new pups probably will not be named since they may not stay at the Asheville center.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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