A Medical First to Enhance the Genetic Health of the Endagered Lobo
Wolves are “mono-estrus” — breeding only once a year during the winter months. Hence, winter is an exciting time for wolves in North America and the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) too! This year the WCC is hosting four breeding pairs – two Mexican gray wolf pairs and two red wolf pairs. Although not every genetically valuable wolf in the SSP program will get a chance breed, many will still be able to make a valuable contribution to the recovery of their rare species.
Later this season we’ll be collecting semen from all our male lobos. The genetic material will be stored for potential future use, an important option when trying to maintain diversity with a species that was once extinct in the wild. In order to give all our male lobs this opportunity and in what is understandably a medical first, we took extra measures to allow lobo M904 to be a part. Last Saturday the 11-year-old underwent a reverse vasectomy. He was given the vasectomy years ago in order to allow him to live year-round with his female companion but thanks to the expertise of an AMAZING team of doctors, the lobo is fertile once more! He’s currently on the mend and back with his companion, Mexican wolf F628. They’ll also be able to remain together through the winter months of romance because the female was spayed back in 2011.
Special thanks to all who made this procedure possible! Thank you Dr. Sherman J. Silber for performing the procedure with Kathleen Lenahan, surgical assistant, and to the pair for joining us all the way from the Infertility Center of St. Louis! Also howls of gratitude to Veterinary Eye Specialists Dr. James Gaarder and Dr. Jane Cho for lending the WCC a surgical microscope to help make the procedure a success! And of course, warm howls of thanks to the amazing Charlie Duffy of Norwalk Veterinary Hospital for his time and expertise last weekend and for all the support over the past decade. THANK YOU!