Thank you Scientific American for joining the first wolf pup checkup for the three critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups born on May 22!

Beyond being adorable, these pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center‘s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction. The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of 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.

Under Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) protocols, captive born pups must be checked during certain milestones in their development. WCC staff checked in when the pups were about 10 days old to determine the size of the litter and take stock of the pups’ health, and again today at their two-month mark to record their heart rate and weight, and administer wormer and the first of a series of Distemper/Parvo vaccinations.

To learn more about the importance and plight of Mexican gray wolves here.

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Biologists processing a wolf pup, including drawing blood for DNA analysis and affixing a tracking collar. (Photo: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

Biologists processing a wolf pup, including drawing blood for DNA analysis and affixing a tracking collar. (Photo: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

In an Effort to Strip the Critically Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf of Protections, Congress Now Wants Genetic Tests

Proposed spending plan for the U.S. Interior Department calls for a study to determine whether Mexican gray wolves are a genetically distinct subspecies despite multiple studies that have confirmed the lobo as a valid subspecies.

Extensive, independent DNA testing – including recent studies using a more accurate genetic analysis – shows conclusively that both captive and wild Mexican wolves are a pure wolf subspecies and substantially different from northern gray wolves, dogs and coyotes. Biologists from the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team pull blood from every new wolf they collar or handle and submit it for DNA analysis to continually monitor the purity of wild Mexican wolves.

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The long-debated question of where dogs first appeared has always been complex.  Wolves are the ancestors of dogs, but for years researchers have been unable to agree on when the canines were first domesticated. In a new study, a palaeogeneticist finds your dog’s ancestor came from wolves 40,000 yrs ago.

In the paper, titled “Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the Early Neolithic,” in the journal Nature Communications, Stony Brook University’s Krishna R. Veeramah, PhD and colleagues write that the most plausible explanation was a single instance of domestication as far as 40,000 years ago, contrary to the results of a previous analysis in 2016 that suggested dogs were domesticated twice.

However, Veeramah did not make any claims as to where dogs split from wolves, he noted.

More from Stony Brook University’s SBU Happenings.

 

 

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