Mexican Gray Wolves
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of gray wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 97 individuals - a decrease from the 110 counted at the end of 2014.
In 2003 the WCC was accepted into the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled species through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. The goal of the Recovery Plan is to restore Mexican gray wolves to a portion of their ancestral range in the southwest United States and Mexico. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for these rare species and three lobos from the WCC have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape. The 7 Mexican gray wolves at the WCC occupy four enclosures in the WCC Endangered Species Facility. These enclosures are private and secluded, and the wolves are not on exhibit for the public. Wolves in the wild are naturally afraid of people so the WCC staff follows a protocol to have minimal human contact with the Mexican wolves. This will ensure they have a greater probability of being successful if they are released into the wild as part of the recovery plan.
» Read the history of the Mexican Gray Wolf
» What is the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan?
» Read U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Reports
» Mexican Wolf Online Resources and Research.
This male was born at the Wolf Conservation Center on April 22, 2008 to F613. Her litter of 6 pups marked the first Mexican gray wolves born at the WCC! While M1140 has not yet had a chance to breed, he is genetically valuable and touches the hearts of many through our webcams.
Mexican gray wolf F1143 was born at the Wolf Conservation Center on April 22, 2008 to F613 and marked the first Mexican gray wolves born at the WCC! Now in the 2016 breeding season, F1143 herself is getting the chance to breed! The genetically valuable loba has been paired with Mexican gray wolf M1059 (Diego) in hope they'll contribute to the recovery of their rare species with pups this spring.
One of our most popular Mexican gray wolves, “Rhett” was born at the California Wolf Center in 2008 and has lived an adventurous life. USFWS released him into the wild in 2013 with the hope that he would become the alpha male of Arizona’s Bluestem pack after the previous alpha male was killed. Unfortunately, M1133 failed to capture the attention of the pack’s alpha female so three weeks after his release he was placed back in captivity. While at USFWS’s captive breeding center he was paired with a wild born female and this pair was released in the spring. However, M1133 and his mate traveled in the wrong direction and ultimately ended up near human settlements in an area with very little natural prey. Similar to his previous release and capture, M1133 was once again placed in captivity and he has lived at the WCC ever since. Rhett’s new mate (F810) passed away in March 2015. In the fall of the following year he was introduced to Mexican wolf F1226 and hopefully the pair will contribute to the recovery of their rare species with the birth of pups this spring!
M1198 (a.k.a. Alleno) was born at the Endangered Wolf Center on May 2, 2010. The handsome fellow was transferred to the Rio Grande Zoo in 2012 and joined the Wolf Conservation Center family in October of 2014 to accompany Mexican wolf F749 (a.k.a. Bella). Sadly, just over a year after their introduction, his female companion passed away. She was 13 years old. M1198 will remain a "lone wolf" until he's paired with a mate during the fall of 2017. Although he lives on exhibit, the elusive wolf is rarely seen. When one does catch a glimpse, no doubt they find M1198 particularly stunning. His signature stare is quite unforgettable because one of his eyes is golden and the other green.
F1226 was born at the California Wolf Center on April 30, 2011. In August of 2013, the loba was transferred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Sivilleta Management Facility in New Mexico where she was paired with M1336 following year in hopes the wolves would whelp pups in captivity and then be released in the wild shortly thereafter. The pair failed to prove fruitful. On October 14, 2015, F1226 joined M1133 at the Wolf Conservation Center where we hope she’ll contribute to the recovery of her rare species via pups. Fun Fact – This beautiful loba is permanently plump (or big boned…) – she just built that way!
M1059 – “Diego” was born at the California Wolf Center on April 22 (Earth Day!) of 2007. He and his two brothers, M1058 (Chico) and M1060 (Durango), were transferred to the Seneca Zoo in 2011. The trio joined the Wolf Conservation Center family in November of 2015, but WCC was merely a pit-stop for M1058 and M1060. Just weeks after their arrival, they returned to west to reside at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Springs, CA. Although M1059 no longer lives with his brothers, the handsome dark lobo remains among family as his younger brother, M1133 (Rhett), also calls the WCC home. Today, M1059 lives with F1143 and we hope the two will contribute to the recovery of their rare species by having pups in spring of 2016.
A fun fact: the couple share the same “B’Earth Day!” F1143, however, is a year younger, born on April 22, 2008.