Red Wolves and Mexican Gray Wolves

The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) participates in 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 largest holding facilities for these rare species and thirteen wolves from the Center have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape.

What is the AZA "SAFE" Program?

Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) is a breeding and management program designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations, and prioritize the release of captive animals to the wild. 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 257 individuals.

>>  Learn More About Mexican Gray Wolves

 

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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!

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. The pair have welcomed four litters of pups together and seven of their children were released to 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.

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 welcomed a total of four litters of pups together.

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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.

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!

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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!

BETTY (F2660)

Mexican gray wolf Betty was born on May 14, 2021 at the Endangered Wolf Center. She's independent and beautiful, much like her namesake - Betty White. She arrived at the WCC in November 2023. Welcome home, Betty!

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SONDA (m2738)

Sonda (m2738) was born to Mexican gray wolves Trumpet (F1505) and Lighthawk (M1564) at the WCC in 2022.  His littermate, Crumbo, was cross-fostered to the Iron Creek Pack in New Mexico shortly after birth and now, along with Trumpet & Lighthawk's daughter Hope are now part of the wild landscape.  Sonda is embracing a new role as older brother to Kazoo, the newest family member!

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 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 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 at the WCC. Join them on live webcam!

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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.

TEX (M1778)

Born at the Endangered Wolf Center on May 18, 2018, Tex soon traveled to the Wildlife Science Center where he lived until his journey to the WCC in November 2023. Welcome home, Tex!

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KAZOO (m2826)

Born at the Wolf Conservation Center on May 1, 2023, Kazoo is the youngest member of his family. His five siblings were cross-fostered into two different wild wolf packs in new Mexico but Kazoo stayed behind and has enjoyed a spoiled life as the youngest brother!

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 February 2024, there is a single wild population comprising 18 known individuals.

>>  Learn More About Red Wolves

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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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JACQUES (M2152)

In December 2021, red wolf Jacques (M2152) arrived at the WCC from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. When he was born, Jacques was given the name “Jack” by his birth facility but in an effort to both honor his name and the WCC’s famous red wolf Jack who passed away in the fall of 2021, the WCC altered Jack’s name to Jacques - so fancy!

SAGE (F2061)

In September 2022 red wolf Sage (F2061) arrived at the WCC from USFWS Red Wolf Center in North Carolina. Born in 2014, Sage is now embarking on a new adventure.  After settling into her new surroundings she will be introduced to red wolf Jacques as her new friend and roommate.,

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GINGER (F2401)

Ginger joined the WCC family in November 2023, traveling all the way from Woodlands Nature Station (Land Between The Lakes) in Kentucky! Born on April 26, 2022 to parents Jasper and Ember, Ginger is one of the newest, and youngest, arrivals at the WCC.

OKA (M2048)

Oka joined the WCC family in November 2023, traveling all the way from Fossil Rim in Texas! Born on March 30, 2014, Oka has fathered one litter of pups with a previous mate. His sister was released to St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge (FL) in 2015 and had pups with Thicket, a red wolf born at the WCC in 2010.

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MAC TÍRE (M2274)

Mac Tíre arrived at the Wolf Conservation Center from the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (WA) in December 2023. He was born at PDZA on May 3, 2018 and now lives with red wolf Ginger at the WCC. His name is a common Irish phrase for "wolf" and we call him Mac for short.