The Wolf Conservation Center has two programs: Ambassador Wolf exhibit and the SSP (Species Survival Plan) program.
An ambassador wolf is an exhibit wolf tasked with inspiring adult and children to understand the importance of wild wolves. At the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), the ambassadors are raised by a dedicated group of staff and volunteers from early in their puppyhood. Because the WCC’s ambassadors will never live free in the wild, staff and volunteers strive to thank them every day for helping people better understand their wild “brothers and sisters.” Gratitude can be in the form of enrichment items and challenges to keep the ambassadors happy and healthy inside and out.
Atka is the oldest ambassador wolf at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC). He arrived at the WCC from Minnesota when he was just 8 days old.
Alawa (meaning "sweetpea" in Algonquin, and pronounced "ai-lay-ewa) is brown and gray and her temperament matches her name. She and her litter-mate, Zephyr (meaning "light or west wind"), were born on April 20 and arrived at the WCC on May 27.
Zephyr (meaning "light or west wind") is a beautiful black male with a prominent nose and a feisty personality.
Nikai (meaning “Little Saint” or One Who Wanders”) is a tan and gray wolf who joined the Wolf Conservation Center family in May of 2014.
The SSP (Species Survival Plan) program was developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered species population with the cooperation of AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, and Approved Non-Member Participants. The Wolf Conservation Center is a participant in 2 separate SSPs, one for the Mexican gray wolf and the other for the red wolf.
Mexican Gray Wolves
Mexican gray wolf F1143 was born at the Wolf Conservation Center on April 22, 2008 to F613 and marked the first Mexican gray wolves born at the WCC! In the 2016 breeding season, F1143 and Mexican gray wolf M1059 (Diego) gave birth to a daughter, f1505 (Trumpet). This coming breeding season, F1143 will be paired with Mexican gray wolf M1198 (Alleno) in the hopes that they contribute to the recovery of their rare species with pups this spring!
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, M1133 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, M1133 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, M1133 was once again placed in captivity and he has lived at the WCC ever since. Rhett’s new mate (F810) passed away in March 2015. In the fall of the following year he was introduced to Mexican wolf F1226 and their union proved fruitful: F1226 gave birth to pups m1506, m 1507, and f1508 in the spring of 2016! The pair bond between M1133 and F1226 proved to be quite strong, as F1226 gave birth to yet another litter of pups in 2017. The family welcomed pups f1619, f1620, and f1621, growing their family of five to a robust family of eight!
M1198 a.k.a. Alleno
M1198 (a.k.a. Alleno) 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 F749 (a.k.a. Bella). Sadly, just over a year after their introduction, his female companion passed away. She was 13 years old. M1198 briefly lived with a companion, F1435, but was introduced to Mexican gray wolf F1143 this fall in the hopes that the pair would contribute to the genetic growth of their critically endangered species with pups. Paws crossed!
F1226 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 Sivilleta Management Facility in New Mexico where she was paired with M1336 following year in hopes the wolves would whelp pups in captivity and then be released in the wild shortly thereafter. The pair failed to prove fruitful. On October 14, 2015, F1226 joined M1133 at the Wolf Conservation Center and luckily, the pair got along quite well! F1226 gave birth to a litter of three pups (m1506, m1507, and f1508) in the spring of 2016 and ANOTHER litter of pups (f1619, f1620, and f1621) in 2017! Fun Fact – This beautiful loba is permanently plump (or big boned…) – she's just built that way!
M1059 a.k.a. Diego
M1059 – “Diego” was born at the California Wolf Center on April 22 (Earth Day!) of 2007. He and his two brothers, M1058 (Chico) and M1060 (Durango), 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 M1058 and M1060. Just weeks after their arrival, they returned to west to reside at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Springs, CA. Although M1059 no longer lives with his brothers, the handsome dark lobo remains among family as his younger brother, M1133 (Rhett), also calls the WCC home. M1059 was introduced to F1143 and the pair welcomed a pup, f1505 (Trumpet) in the spring of 2016. In the interest of expanding the genetic diversity of the Mexican wolf population, M1059 and F1143 have been separated for the upcoming 2018 breeding season. F1143 will hopefully produce pups with Mexican gray wolf M1198, while M1059 will reside with a companion, F1435.
f1505 a.k.a. Trumpet
On the morning of May 4th, Mexican gray wolf F1143 gave birth to a single pup (f1505) – a robust little girl nicknamed “Trumpet” for her loud squeals.
Unbeknownst to the kiddo, Trumpet has been warming the hearts of a global audience via the WCC's remote webcams. But beyond being adorable, the pocket-size predator represents the Center's active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.
m1506 a.k.a. Duffy
Just before midnight on May 25th, Mexican gray wolf F1126 (a.k.a. Belle) gave birth to three beautiful pups - two boys and a girl. m1506 (a.k.a. Duffy) was the smallest in the litter, and for his first 6 weeks had a single adorable lopped ear. In addition to being cute, he and his critically endangered littermates are valuable contributions to the recovery of their rare and at-risk species.
m1507 a.k.a. Maus
Just before midnight on May 25th, Mexican gray wolf F1126 (a.k.a. Belle) gave birth to three beautiful pups - two boys and a girl. m1507, a.k.a. Maus, looks a lot like his father - they share the same nose! In addition to being adorable, the critically endangered kiddos are valuable contributions to the recovery of their rare and at-risk species.
f1508 a.k.a. K.B.
Just before midnight on May 25th, Mexican gray wolf F1126 (a.k.a. Belle) gave birth to three beautiful pups - two boys and a girl called f1508 (aka K.B.). The darkest in color compared to her brothers, f1508 looks a bit like her father. In addition to being adorable, the critically endangered kiddos are valuable contributions to the recovery of their rare and at-risk species.
F1435 arrived at the Wolf Conservation Center from the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL in November of 2016. She lives on exhibit with Mexican gray wolf M1198 (“Alleno”). The dark beauty was born on May 29, 2015 and is the older sister to two wolves who received the “call of the wild” in April of 2016. As pups, her younger siblings were placed in the den of the Arizona-based Elk Horn Pack of wild wolves with the intention that the pack’s adults would raise the two with its own litter. In this process, known as “cross-fostering,” very young pups are moved from a litter at a zoo or wildlife center to a wild litter of similar age so that the receiving pack raises the pups as its own. The technique, which has proven successful with wolves and other wildlife, shows promise to improve the genetic diversity of the wild wolf population.
Early one morning in May of 2014, red wolf F1563 (Salty) quietly gave birth to three beautiful pups; F2073, F2074, and M2075 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The family, which also included red wolf M1803 (Moose), soon moved to the Wolf Conservation Center and quickly became a popular sight on our webcams. A global audience enjoyed watching M2075 and his sisters mature and develop unique personalities, but no greater excitement was felt than when F1563 gave birth to a litter of five pups in 2015. M2075 was quickly thrown into the role of older brother, a position he hadn’t practiced for but nevertheless succeeded in. Years have since passed and the family has gone their separate ways, but M2075 has settled quite comfortably into the role of alpha male, once held by his father, in his band of bachelor brothers. The benevolent leader is compassionate yet firm – a true alpha.
M2116 was born on May 2, 2015 at the Wolf Conservation Center to parents M1803 and F1563. Life looks bright for this young wolf and hopefully one day he will be able to live in the wild like his ancestors!
M2117 was born on May 2, 2015 at the Wolf Conservation Center to parents M1803 (Moose) and F1563 (Salty). The pint-sized pup instantly stole the hearts of WCC supporters as he was noticeably smaller than his siblings but what he lacked in size, he made up for in steadfast loyalty to his family. Regardless of his siblings’ antics, M2117 (affectionately referred to by fans as “Peanut” in a nod to his pup days) is a shining example of what it means to be a “family wolf.” While it may seem as though he’s the most subordinate in rank amongst his brothers, M2117 is the quiet strength that binds together this endangered family. Like his band of bachelor brothers, M2117 will have to wait at least another year to potentially breed but we’re grateful to “keep” him for now!
M2118 was born on May 2, 2015 at the Wolf Conservation Center to parents M1803 (Moose) and F1563 (Salty). The rambunctious pup 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!
Although M2118’s family-centric enclosure has now shifted to that of a bachelor pad (he resides with his brothers), he’s retained his fun-loving personality. Webcam watchers often glimpse the playful wolf coaxing his siblings into a quick wrestling match or romp about the enclosure. While M2118 hasn’t yet been slated to breed, he seems quite content in his role as the self-appointed jokester. Every family needs one!
M2119 was born on May 2, 2015 at the Wolf Conservation Center to parents M1803 (Moose) and F1563 (Salty). As is often the case with wolf pup litters, hierarchy is established at an early age and this litter was no exception. M2119 quickly positioned himself as the dominant one amongst his littermates and this dominant behavior has only increased as he’s grown. Rather than shy away from unknown sights and sounds, as his siblings do, M2119 often approaches unfamiliar things in a curious yet cautious manner. This unique personality trait, coupled with his innate dominance, as firmly cemented his position as one of the leaders in his family group.
F2121 was born on May 2, 2015 at the Wolf Conservation Center to parents M1803 (Moose) and F1563 (Salty). The only female in a litter of five pups, F2121 (affectionately nicknamed “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, M1606 (Jack). The dynamic duo personifies the adage “opposites attract”, as Charlotte can often be found observing a situation from a safe distance, whereas Jack is quick to investigate the slightest disturbance. We’re hopeful the union between these two will culminate with pups this spring – paws crossed!
Family is of the utmost importance to wolves, something red wolf M1784 certainly fees quite strongly about. The seven year old recently transferred to the WCC from the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., where he and his family made national headlines due to some…adventures…this past summer. M1784’s mate, F1858, gave birth to a litter of four pups in the spring of 2017 and M1784 immediately embraced his new role as father. Keepers observed M1784 constantly bringing food to F1858 and the pups – he even brought the pups a rat when they were three weeks old! Be still, our beating hearts!
However, M1784 officially clinched the “Father of the Year” award when he stayed cool and calm under the pressure of having all four of his pups escape their enclosure at the zoo. Rather than panic, as many fathers would do in his situation, M1784 actually regurgitated food and fed it to the pups through the fence!
The adventurous family was transferred to the WCC in the fall of 2017 because, due to the genetic value of M1784 and F1858’s offspring, the pair is slated to breed again this year and should reside in an enclosure that can accommodate their growing family. Keep your eyes fixed on their webcam – they’re proven breeders, so we’re hoping for some pups this spring!
The word “superhero” comes to mind when one thinks of F1858. A new resident of the WCC, along with her mate and pups, the female has proven herself to be a fearless leader and has quickly adjusted to life in the Northeast. F1858 is considered to be one of the most genetically valuable wolves in the red wolf recovery program, so the birth of her four pups in spring 2017 was met with joyous exclamations from all who value red wolf recovery. The family journeyed to the WCC in the fall of 2017 from their home at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. , where they made national headlines last summer when the four pups escaped from their enclosure at the zoo (and were safely captured, of course)! What a way to welcome F1858 to the lifelong role of being a mother!
Although the family resides off-exhibit at the WCC, webcam watchers love watching F1858 go about her day; the feisty female is a voracious eater and is quick to offer support and love to her family when needed. A superhero, indeed.
M1606, one of the WCC’s newest red wolves, made quite the entrance when he arrived in December 2017. The spunky red wolf, referred to as “Jack”, flew from his former home at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sandy Ridge facility in North Carolina on a private plane! Talk about the celebrity treatment! Thanks to Pilots to the Rescue and their volunteer pilots, Jack was able to bypass long airport lines and enjoy a comfortable flight on his way to his new home. He resides in the WCC’s on-exhibit red wolf enclosure with F2121 and although he’s shy around people, he can be quite the spitfire when he thinks no one’s watching! Make sure to watch our webcams to catch a glimpse of Jack’s antics, and maybe some pups in the spring!