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A Wild Anniversary: Mexican Gray Wolf Hope Celebrates One Year in the Wild

One year ago today, one of the smallest residents at the Wolf Conservation Center was given the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in the wild. Five Mexican gray wolf pups were born to parents Trumpet and Lighthawk on April 26, 2019, but one pup, although miniscule in stature compared to the adult wolves, was much larger than her siblings and thus destined for a larger-than-life adventure.

On May 9, 2019 Hope Haas (nicknamed “Hope” for what she symbolizes for Mexican gray wolf recovery and “Haas” for the pilot who gave her wings) was flown to Arizona and successfully placed in the den of the Saffel wild wolf pack, where the breeding female had recently given birth to her own litter.

Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter to be raised by surrogate parents. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS)’s Initial Release and Translocation Proposal for 2019, Mexican gray wolves within the wild population are as related to one another as full siblings. This cross-foster recovery technique provides the opportunity to augment the population’s genetics.

Beyond bringing much-needed genetic diversity (and a little New York sass!) to the wild Mexican wolf population, Hope is just that – a symbol of Hope. She symbolizes courage, teamwork, and hope for Mexican wolf recovery.

“Hope is part of the critical effort to save her imperiled species,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC. “She’s a North American superhero! She’s now a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape, and her story will help raise awareness for Mexican gray wolves and the active efforts to save them.”

Hope is a hero.