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Giving Endangered Wolves the Gift of Flight

Karen, Tom, and WCC Curator Rebecca Bose

Critically endangered Mexican gray wolves M1506 (Duffy) and F1508 (KB) first received the celebrity treatment when they grew up, unknowingly, in the eyes of thousands of global fans through the Wolf Conservation Center‘s live webcams, but the siblings were elevated to a new level of stardom this week! Thanks to the generosity of pilot Tom Haas, the pair flew across the country on a private plane – talk about an adventure!

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all Mexican wolves descended from just 7 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs, and Duffy and KB were found to be excellent matches, genetically, with Mexican wolves at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

With breeding season approaching, we needed to get Duffy and KB from New York to their new homes. But how?

For occasions such as this, we call upon a very special group to help – one with wings!

Enormous thanks to LightHawk, a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization that donates flights for conservation, and pilot Tom Haas for flying the critically endangered lobos to New Mexico and Ohio earlier this week. While we’re sad to see the siblings leave, we’re excited for the future – perhaps they’ll fall in love with their new lobos and have pups!

Learn more about Mexican gray wolves: