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Summary of WCC’s Red Wolf and Mexican Gray Wolf Breeding Plans/Transfers

Dear Friends,

The Wolf Conservation Center participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the red wolf (Canis rufus). The Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf are among the rarest mammals in North America; both species were at one time extinct in the wild.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to secure protections for critically endangered wolf species, we have also naturally been quite active in physically safeguarding the representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to our care.

Organizations participating in the SSP are tasked with basic husbandry, collaborating in the carefully managed captive breeding program, recommendations for release, and research.

This work is literally “behind the scenes” as visitors rarely get to see the wolves because they are generally kept off-exhibit to maintain their healthy aversion to humans.

This winter promises to be an exciting one as it features not only our normal husbandry but also potential breeding pairs!

Because the entire existing populations of Mexican wolves and red wolves are derived from such limited founding populations (just seven individuals for the Mexican wolf and 14 for the red wolf), genetic health is the primary consideration governing decisions re reproductive pairings and captive-to-wild release events. It is also the reason that the SSP programs for both wolf species pursue extraordinary conservation measures to save these species including semen collection, gamete cryopreservation, and artificial insemination (AI).

Below is a summary of the red wolf and Mexican gray wolf breeding plans:


Red Wolves Lava (F2134) and Tyke (M2118)

Lava, a four year old red wolf from Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, will have the opportunity to breed with red wolf Tyke.

Mexican Gray Wolves Trumpet (F1505) and Lighthawk (M1564)

Trumpet and Lighthawk will have the opportunity to breed naturally this season; the duo have welcomed two litters of pups.


Mexican gray wolves Rosa (F1143) and Valentia (F1538) could welcome pups this spring, but not through the typical “breeding” process. The two lobas will be artificially inseminated. Rosa has welcomed two litters of pups; potential pups will be a first for Valentia.

Valentia will remain with Diego (M1059) throughout breeding season, in the hopes that she’ll emotionally bond with the experienced twelve year old dad. Diego had a vasectomy earlier this fall which enables him to remain with Valentia.


During breeding season, we are tasked with separating each pack’s non-breeding males and females.

Wolf families usually consist of the breeding pair (parents) and their offspring of varying ages. In the wild, wolves employ behaviors and other techniques to avoid inbreeding, an innate behavior that decreases the risk of adverse mutations. For young pack members looking to breed, an option in the wild is dispersing from the pack. Options are limited for captive wolves, so it’s necessary that all male family members be kept apart from the females until hormones subside. All of our enclosures have a dividing fence line through their interior so packs will remain in their original territories, but males on one side and females on the other. We temporarily separated males and females in the following family groups:

Red wolves Sam (M1784) and Veronica (F1858)

The seasoned parents are getting a well-deserved rest this season. After welcoming ten pups over the course of two years, their paws are full managing their offspring. Because the kids have reached sexual maturity, the males and females are separated for the breeding season.

Red wolves Jack (M1606) and Charlotte (F2121)

The males and females within the family of six have been separated to prevent spontaneous breeding involving those who have reached sexual maturity.

Mexican gray wolves Alléno (M1198) and Rosa (F1143)

The six yearling brothers are heading off for a new adventure – the boys will be sent to Zoo New England where they will reside in a spacious enclosure. The three sisters will reside on one half of their enclosure with Rosa and Alléno will remain on the opposite half.

Mexican gray wolves Rhett (M1133) and Belle (F1226)

The males and females within the family of six have been separated to prevent spontaneous breeding involving those who have reached sexual maturity.

Mexican gray wolves LightHawk (M1564) and Trumpet (F1505)

The males and females within the family of eight have been separated to prevent spontaneous breeding involving those who have reached sexual maturity.


This season we’re welcoming new wolves (red wolf Lava and Mexican gray wolves Valentia) and saying goodbye to others. Mexican gray wolf Magdalena (F1435) headed off to an exciting future at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and red wolf Moose, Jr. (MJ or M2119) now resides at the Roger Williams Zoo with a new lady!

Of course, we’re sad to see Rosa and Alléno’s boys (Craighead, Carson, Goodall, Beattie, Mittermeier, and Lek) leave but their departure signals the start of their new life as (almost) adult wolves. May they continue to enjoy their closely-knit bonds and, some day, contribute to the recovery of their rare species through pups.

Thank you for your continued support of the WCC’s wolves. Your passion and dedication are among the reasons we love having you as members of the WCC pack!

~ Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director