Wolves in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program

The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) participates in the federal Species Survival Plan (SSP) recovery programs for the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf, two of the rarest mammals in North America. Both species at one time were completely extinct in the wild.

Since 2003 the WCC has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled species with through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for these rare species and seven wolves from the Center have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape.

What is a Species Survival Plan?

A Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a breeding and management program designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. It’s a coordinated effort among zoos, organizations like the Wolf Conservation Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexico’s Fish & Wildlife Agencies and managed under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

MEXICAN GRAY WOLVES

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of gray 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 a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprised of 186 individuals - a 14% increase from the 163 counted at the end of 2019.

>>  Learn More About Mexican Gray Wolves

 

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ROSA (F1143)

Mexican gray wolf Rosa was born at the WCC in 2008 to Mexican gray wolf Mama Gray (F613) – she and her siblings were the first Mexican wolves born at the WCC! Over the years, Rosa has said farewell to most of her family members, but she’s had the opportunity to build a new family of her own. In 2015, she was introduced to Mexican gray wolf Diego, and the pair quickly bonded, spending many days cuddling on top of their den and sharing meals. Their bond was quite evident when, in the spring of 2016, Rosa gave birth to a daughter, nicknamed “Trumpet” for the loud squeals she made as a newborn. The family of two became a close-knit family of three and WCC staff and supporters rejoiced at the apparent happiness and love felt by the trio. Unfortunately, their days as a family unit were numbered. As part of the Mexican wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), certain Mexican wolves are paired for breeding each year based on the genetics of both the wild and captive populations. Rosa was found to be a perfect genetic match for Mexican wolf Alléno, another WCC male, so she bid farewell to Diego and Trumpet in the fall of 2017 and slowly began to form a bond with Alléno. Jump to May 8, 2018; Rosa revealed that love can strike a second time with the birth of nine pups - six males and three females! Although the family resides off-exhibit at the WCC, webcam watchers love watching them!

RHETT (M1133)

One of our most popular Mexican gray wolves, Rhett was born at the California Wolf Center in 2008 and has lived an adventurous life. USFWS released him into the wild in 2013 with the hope that he would become the alpha male of Arizona’s Bluestem pack after the previous alpha male was killed. Unfortunately, Rhett failed to capture the attention of the pack’s alpha female so three weeks after his release he was placed back in captivity. While at USFWS’s captive breeding center he was paired with a wild-born female and this pair was released in the spring. However, Rhett and his mate traveled in the wrong direction and ultimately ended up near human settlements in an area with very little natural prey. Similar to his previous release and capture, Rhett was once again placed in captivity and he has lived at the WCC ever since. In 2016, he was introduced to Mexican wolf Belle and their union proved fruitful: Belle gave birth to pups in the spring of 2016! The pair bond between Rhett and Belle proved to be quite strong, as Belle gave birth to yet another litter of pups in 2017! Although the family resides off-exhibit at the WCC, webcam watchers love observing the dynamic relationships between the members of the multigeneration pack.

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ALLÉNO (M1198)

Mexican gray wolf Alléno was born at the Endangered Wolf Center on May 2, 2010. The handsome fellow was transferred to the Rio Grande Zoo in 2012 and joined the Wolf Conservation Center family in October of 2014 to accompany Mexican wolf Bella (F749). Sadly, just over a year after their introduction, Bella passed away at 13 years of age. Alléno briefly lived with a companion, Magdalena, but was introduced to Mexican gray wolf Rosa in the fall of 2017 in the hopes that the pair would contribute to the genetic growth of their critically endangered species with pups. Jump to May 8, 2018; Alléno and Rosa welcome nine pups - six males and three females! Whoa! Although the family resides off-exhibit at the WCC, webcam watchers love watching them.

BELLE (F1226)

Belle was born at the California Wolf Center on April 30, 2011. In August of 2013, the loba was transferred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Sevilleta Management Facility in New Mexico. On October 14, 2015, Belle joined Rhett at the Wolf Conservation Center and luckily, the pair got along quite well! Belle gave birth to a litter of three pups in the spring of 2016 and ANOTHER litter of pups in 2017! Fun Fact – This beautiful loba is permanently plump (or big boned…). She's just built that way!

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DIEGO (M1059)

Mexican gray wolf Diego was born at the California Wolf Center on April 22 (Earth Day!) of 2007. He and his two brothers were transferred to the Seneca Zoo in 2011. The trio joined the Wolf Conservation Center family in November of 2015, but WCC was merely a pit-stop for his brothers. Just weeks after their arrival, they returned west to reside at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Springs, CA. Although Diego no longer lives with his brothers, the handsome dark lobo remains among family as his younger brother, Rhett, also calls the WCC home. Diego was introduced to Rosa, and the pair welcomed a pup, Trumpet, in the spring of 2016. In the interest of expanding the genetic diversity of the Mexican wolf population, Diego and Rosa were separated for the 2018 breeding season, after which Rosa produced nine pups with Mexican gray wolf Alléno. Love stuck a second time for Diego as well, today he lives with his new lady companion, Valentia.

TRUMPET (F1505)

On the morning of May 4, 2016, Mexican gray wolf Rosa gave birth to a single pup – a robust little girl nicknamed “Trumpet” for her loud squeals. Unbeknownst to her, Trumpet had been warming the hearts of a global audience via the WCC's remote webcams. Her fans were elated to learn that she would be introduced to a new lobo in town during fall of 2017 -Mexican gray wolf LightHawk. On April 30, 2018, Trumpet welcomed three pups of her own. They've since welcomed four more pups, one of whom now lives in the wild!

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MAUS (M1507)

Just before midnight on May 25, 2016, Mexican gray wolf Belle gave birth to three beautiful pups - two boys and a girl. Maus looks a lot like his father - they share the same nose! In addition to being adorable, the critically endangered wolves are valuable contributions to the recovery of their rare and at-risk species.

VALENTIA (F1538)

Valentia was born at the Sedgwick County Zoo (KS) in 2016 and, after two years at a USFWS facility in New Mexico, was flown across the country to her new home at the WCC in December 2019. Thanks to LightHawk, a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization that donates flights to conservation groups, Valentia flew in style. LightHawk asks that its volunteers bring a lot more than skill; for flights over North America, pilots use their own aircraft and absorb the cost of fuel, insurance, and hangaring during a mission. Weighing in at 76 lbs, the voluptuous beauty is officially the largest female Mexican gray wolf at the WCC – what an honor!

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LIGHTHAWK (M1564)

At first glance, LightHawk (M1564) seems like every other Mexican wolf residing in the Wolf Conservation Center’s Endangered Species facility: elusive, endangered, essential. But the shy male has experienced something only very few lobos have – the wild. Born around April 15th, 2015, LightHawk spent most of his young life roaming the vast terrain of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests as a member of the Hawks Nest Pack but his life as a wild lobo came to a devastating end when he was removed from the wild in the fall of 2016 for attacking livestock. The elusive male was then flown to the WCC in 2017 via a series of private flights (thanks to the organization Lighthawk) and introduced to a spacious enclosure, where he now resides with Trumpet. The pair enjoyed months of “newlywed bliss,” but their honeymoon stage came to a close on April 30, 2018, with the arrival of three pups - two males and one female! They've since welcomed four more pups, one of whom now lives in the wild!

MAX (F1620)

On May 22, 2017, Mexican gray wolf Belle gave birth to a litter of three pups - all females! This is the second litter born to mom and dad Rhett. With parents, newborns, and the pair’s three children born in 2016, the public had an opportunity to study the complex social structure of a multigenerational pack. Unbeknownst to the wolves, WCC webcams allow a global audience to observe their behavior 24/7. Mexican gray wolf Max is the boldest of her littermates. She's always first to investigate anything new, especially if it's something edible!

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JEAN (F1619)

On May 22, 2017, Mexican gray wolf Belle gave birth to a litter of three pups - all females! This is the second litter born to mom and dad Rhett. With parents, newborns, and the pair’s three children born in 2016, the public had an opportunity to study the complex social structure of a multigenerational pack. Unbeknownst to the wolves, WCC webcams allow a global audience to observe their behavior 24/7. Shy and always with a family member, Jean, is the quietest of her litter, but that doesn’t make her any less fierce!

NITA (F1621)

On May 22, 2017, Mexican gray wolf Belle gave birth to a litter of three pups - all females! This is the second litter born to mom and dad Rhett. With parents, newborns, and the pair’s three children born in 2016, the public had an opportunity to study the complex social structure of a multigenerational pack. Unbeknownst to the wolves, WCC webcams allow a global audience to observe their behavior 24/7. Mexican gray wolf Nita, named in honor of a dedicated champion for the loba’s wild kin, has been a spitfire from the start!

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KRAL (M1742)

On April 30, 2018, first-time parent Trumpet welcomed three pups - two males and one female. Following in their mother’s footsteps, the noisy newborns entered the world amongst a chorus of sounds. Trumpet’s solo act has grown into an orchestra of growls, yips, and peeps! The squeaky sounds are not only adorable, but are so rarely heard on the wild landscape. Kral and his siblings have embraced their new roles as older siblings; they're often spotted playing with their younger siblings!

JOE DARLING (M1743)

On April 30, 2018, first-time parent Trumpet welcomed three pups - two males and one female. Following in their mother’s footsteps, the noisy newborns entered the world amongst a chorus of sounds. Trumpet’s solo act has grown into an orchestra of growls, yips, and peeps! The squeaky sounds are not only adorable, but are so rarely heard on the wild landscape. Joe Darling and his siblings have embraced their new roles as older siblings; they're often spotted playing with their younger siblings!

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BABS (F1744)

On April 30, 2018, first-time parent Trumpet welcomed three pups - two males and one female. Following in their mother’s footsteps, the noisy newborns entered the world amongst a chorus of sounds. Babs transitioned into a new role in 2019 when her younger siblings were born; acting as a babysitter, she watched over her younger brothers and helped them navigate their new world.

DIANE (F1752)

On May 8, 2018, Mexican gray wolf Rosa gave birth to a baseball team of pups - six males and three females! Although the brothers have embarked on a new journey at another SSP facility, Diane and her sisters still live with parents Rosa and Alléno at the WCC. Join them on live webcam!

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HÉLÈNE (F1753)

On May 8, 2018, Mexican gray wolf Rosa gave birth to a baseball team of pups - six males and three females! Although the brothers have embarked on a new journey at another SSP facility, Hélène and her sisters still live with parents Rosa and Alléno at the WCC. Join them on live webcam!

BRIA (F1754)

On May 8, 2018, Mexican gray wolf Rosa gave birth to a baseball team of pups - six males and three females! Although the brothers have embarked on a new journey at another SSP facility, Hélène and her sisters still live with parents Rosa and Alléno at the WCC. Join them on live webcam!

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GEORGE (M1970)

On April 26th, George (M1970) and his two brothers; Nicholas (M1971) and Mosby (M1972) were born to Mexican gray wolf Trumpet (F1505).  Their littermate, Hope, was chosen to embark on a historic journey – she was the first solo pup ever cross-fostered into a wild Mexican gray wolf family! She’s now a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape where she lives with her adoptive family as a member of Arizona’s Saffel pack.

Nicholas (M1971)

On April 26th, Nicholas (M1971) and his two brothers; George (M1970) and Mosby (M1972) were born to Mexican gray wolf Trumpet (F1505).  Nicholas was named in memory of an avid 10-year old wolf lover, Nicholas Tasker, so that his love of wolves may live on indefinitely.  Nicholas, George and Mosby's littermate, Hope, was chosen to embark on a historic journey – she was the first solo pup ever cross-fostered into a wild Mexican gray wolf family! She’s now a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape where she lives with her adoptive family as a member of Arizona’s Saffel pack.

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Mosby (M1972)

On April 26th, Mosby (M1972) and his two brothers; George (M1970) and Nicholas (M1971) were born to Mexican gray wolf Trumpet (F1505). Nicholas, George and Mosby's littermate, Hope, was chosen to embark on a historic journey – she was the first solo pup ever cross-fostered into a wild Mexican gray wolf family! She’s now a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape where she lives with her adoptive family as a member of Arizona’s Saffel pack.

RED WOLVES

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1973, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980. As of October 2021, there is a single wild population comprising 8 known individuals.

>>  Learn More About Red Wolves

Reds

TYKE (M2118)

Tyke (M2118) was born on May 2, 2015, at the Wolf Conservation Center and quickly distinguished himself from his siblings through his unique sense of humor. With four littermates and three older siblings, someone needed to break the frequent tension! Today Tyke lives on-exhibit with companion Lava - join them on live webcam!

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LAVA (F2134)

Lava arrived at the WCC in December 2019 from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The striking beauty lives with red wolf Tyke - we hope that their chemistry will be explosive and the pair will make a valuable contribution to the recovery of their rare species in the form of pups. Paws crossed!

CHARLOTTE (F2121)

Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015, at the Wolf Conservation Center. The only female in a litter of five pups, Charlotte distinguished herself from her brothers through her shy nature; visitors rarely saw her during on-site programs, but webcam watchers grew to love her quiet demeanor. Although she no longer resides with her brothers, her quiet nature has matured into a graceful, calm spirit that often serves as a soothing counterbalance to her mate, Jack who is quick to investigate the slightest disturbance. The dynamic duo personifies the adage “opposites attract”; an attraction so strong that it culminated with pups on April 19, 2018 -three males and one female! Congrats Charlotte and Jack!

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SAM (M1784)

Family is of the utmost importance to wolves, something red wolf Sam (M1784) certainly feels quite strongly about. Sam and his family were transferred to the WCC in the fall of 2017 because, due to the genetic value of couple’s offspring, the pair was chosen to breed again in 2018 and required a larger enclosure fit for a growing family. Making the move turned out to be a great idea because, on April 19, 2018, the couple welcomed their second litter - this time four boys and two girls! Although the family has changed in size (children moved to other facilities and Sam's mate Veronica sadly passed away), Sam still provides a loving and nurturing environment for his remaining children.

MARTHA (F2242)

In the early evening of April 19, 2018, red wolf Veronica gave birth to a litter of six pups; this was the second litter born to Veronica and her mate Sam. Sadly, Veronica passed away in 2021 but the family continues to inspire a global audience of supporters via WCC's live webcams. They open the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of their endangered kin, and the efforts to save them from extinction.

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SKYRAE (F2243)

In the early evening of April 19, 2018, red wolf Veronica gave birth to a litter of six pups; this was the second litter born to Veronica and her mate Sam. Sadly, Veronica passed away in 2021 but the family continues to inspire a global audience of supporters via WCC's live webcams. They open the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of their endangered kin, and the efforts to save them from extinction.

MAX (M2240)

In the early evening of April 19, 2018, red wolf Veronica gave birth to a litter of six pups; this was the second litter born to Veronica and her mate Sam. Sadly, Veronica passed away in 2021 but the family continues to inspire a global audience of supporters via WCC's live webcams. They open the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of their endangered kin, and the efforts to save them from extinction.

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BEN (M2235)

In the early evening of April 19, 2018, red wolf Charlotte gave birth to a litter of four pups -three males and one female. This was the first litter born to Charlotte and her mate Jack. With high pitch peeps and squeals, the adorable newborns announced their debut to a global community of onlookers via the WCC’s network of live webcams. Red wolf pup Ben and his siblings first started to squeak out unsolicited howls at just a couple of weeks old. But now they're full grown adults!

HUNTER (M2241)

In the early evening of April 19, 2018, red wolf Veronica gave birth to a litter of six pups; this was the second litter born to Veronica and her mate Sam. Sadly, Veronica passed away in 2021 but the family continues to inspire a global audience of supporters via WCC's live webcams. They open the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of their endangered kin, and the efforts to save them from extinction.

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NOTCH (M2206)

On April 28, 2017, red wolf Notch was born ("Notch" for the notch in his ear). He and his family moved to the WCC soon after in the fall of 2017. Although the family resides off-exhibit at the WCC, webcam watchers love watching Notch employ parenting strategies in his role as older brother. This is key, as passing down knowledge from one generation to the next allows the family to maintain traditions unique to that pack.