This is what love looks like.
Beyond being adorable, this critically endangered wolf pup represents the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction. The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only seven rescued and placed in captivity. Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing most recovery efforts. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.
The WCC is one of 55 facilities 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.
Currently 13 Mexican wolves call the WCC home. In the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 113 individuals – an increase from the 97 counted at the end of 2015.