Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Snuggles with her 5-day-old Pup
On April 30, first-time parents F1505 (affectionately nicknamed Trumpet) and M1564 (Lighthawk) welcomed three adorable pups! Beyond being cute, these pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center‘s active participation in the effort to save a species from extinction.
There are only 114 wild Mexican gray wolves living in the United States, so every new arrival represents a priceless contribution to the recovery the rare and at-risk species.
The WCC is one of more than 50 institutions in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan – a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.
Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing not only reproductive pairings, but also captive-to-wild release efforts. Although both components are equally critical to Mexican wolf recovery, release events are far less frequent than successful breeding.
In recent positive steps toward recovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been ushering genetically diverse captive wolf pups into the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico through its pup cross-fostering initiative. Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter so the pups can grow up as wild wolves.
The Mexican wolf newborns, who will not be able to open their eyes for a week or so, are not eligible for wild-foster due to their litter size.
The wolf parents and pups are not on public exhibit, but thirteen live webcams, available on the WCC website, invite an unlimited number of viewers to enter the private lives of these elusive creatures.