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 comprising only 114 individuals - a slight increase from the 113 counted at the end of 2016.
In 2003 the WCC was accepted into the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled species through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. The goal of the Recovery Plan is to restore Mexican gray wolves to a portion of their ancestral range in the southwest United States and Mexico. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for these rare species and three lobos from the WCC have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape. The 22 Mexican gray wolves currently reside at the WCC and occupy four enclosures in the Center's Endangered Species Facility. These enclosures are private and secluded, and the wolves are not on exhibit for the public. Wolves in the wild are naturally afraid of people so the WCC staff follows a protocol to have minimal human contact with the Mexican wolves. This will ensure they have a greater probability of being successful if they are released into the wild as part of the recovery plan.
» Read the history of the Mexican Gray Wolf
» What is the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan?
» Read U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Reports
» Mexican Wolf Online Resources and Research.
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 M1059 (“Diego”). 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.
At first glance, 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, M1564 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 f1505. The feisty female, affectionately known as “Trumpet”, captured the hearts of WCC staff and supporters when she was born to parents M1059 and F1143 in 2016. Webcam viewers were entertained by her boundless energy and endless antics, and were overjoyed upon learning about her union with M1564.
The pair has enjoyed months of “newlywed bliss” but it’s possible the honeymoon stage might be coming to a close. WCC staff is hopeful that f1505 might give birth to a litter of pups within the next few weeks, so the bonded family of two could very well become a loving family of at least three!