On April 26th a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf Trumpet (F1505) gave birth to a litter of three male and two female pups. Most wolves born in captivity spend their lives there, however, on May 9th the Wolf Conservation Center
(WCC) flew a two-week old pup to Arizona to be placed in the den of a wild wolf pack where the breeding female had recently given birth to her own litter. This technique is called cross-fostering and the aim is to improve the genetic health of the wild population. Hope
, is part of the critical effort to save her imperiled species," said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC. "At just two pounds, she became a North American superhero! She's now a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape, and her story brings hope for Mexican gray wolf recovery."
"The WCC is thrilled to be a part of this important recovery mission," stated WCC Curator Rebecca Bose. "The collaboration among all who had a hand in delivering Trumpet's pup to her wild family is a true testament to the dedication of everyone involved. We are especially appreciative of WCC veterinarian Paul Maus, DVM as well as a generous friend of the Center for providing his plane to transport the precious passenger from New York to Arizona!"
Today, wild Mexican gray wolves are as related to one another as full siblings.
Cross-foster recovery technique provides the opportunity to increase the population's genetics with the hope the pup will eventually spread her genes to the greater population.
The WCC has been a critical partner in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program
for nearly two decades. To date, three adult Mexican gray wolves from the center have been released in the wild. Participating in a cross-foster, however, is a historic first for the center.
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
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 remaining rescued from extinction 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 131 individuals – an increase from 114 counted at the end of 2017.
Learn more at NYWOLF.ORG