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Critically Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves Engage in Copulatory Tie

It’s an exciting time for wolves — it’s the season of romance! Hormones are racing and yesterday afternoon we witnessed Mexican gray wolves Trumpet (F1505) and Lighthawk (M1564) engage in a copulatory tie via webcam!

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 Trumpet and Lighthawk are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.

Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out Trumpet and Lighthawk are also a perfect pair “off paper”. The playful couple earned their badge of parenthood on April 30, 2018, when the first-time parents welcomed two boys and a girl.

The gestation period (length of pregnancy) is 63 days.  So, for now, keep your paws crossed that Trumpet and Lighthawk will be welcoming priceless (and adorable) contributions to the recovery of their rare species later this spring!