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WCC Hosts the 2010 Mexican Wolf Annual Meeting!

The WCC is honored to host the 2010 Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) Annual Meeting! This meeting is bringing together representatives from dozens of facilities participating in the Mexican Wolf SSP, including Fish and Wildlife Agencies from the US and Mexico, for an update on all aspects of the effort to save the critically endangered Mexican wolf from extinction, and the recovery of a sustainable population in the wild. The meeting will open tomorrow morning at Westchester’s own Le Chateau in an elegant space the restaurant generously donated to us. We’ll just have to pretend that Le Chatau is a Mexican restaurant, not a French one!

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), or “lobo,” is the smallest, southernmost occurring, and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Aggressive predator control programs at the turn of the century all but exterminated the Mexican wolf from the wild. With the capture of the last 7 remaining Mexican wolves in the wild in Mexico approximately 30 years ago, a captive breeding program was initiated and this helped save the Mexican wolf from extinction. Today, the captive population consists of over 300 animals, and encompasses close to 50 zoos and wildlife facilities throughout the United States and Mexico.

The Mexican Wolf recovery effort has taken a hit in recent weeks with the discovery of two Mexican wolves found dead, both illegally shot. Both wolves were alpha males, the leader of the Hawks Nest Pack in eastern Arizona and the leader of the San Mateo Pack in southern New Mexico. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a comprehensive investigation of this illegal shooting in collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other partners. We can only hope that justice will be served.