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Blog: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jumps in to save Mexican gray wolf pups, but are they going about it the right way?

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up, Defenders of Wildlife, 5/23/14 (posted 6/11/14)

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For the first time in the history of Mexican gray wolf recovery, this week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) intervened in the rearing of a new litter of Mexican wolf pups, using a new management strategy to increase the likelihood that newly born litter will survive through their first weeks in the wild.

The Service moved two young pups from a single mother into a new litter of the same age with an experiencd mother. In the world of wildlife biology, this strategy is called “cross fostering,” but in simple terms, what this means is that the newly born wolf pups were placed in a foster family.

Wolf biologists fear that the young pups wouldn’t have survived had they not moved them—the pups’ original mother had no mate to assist her in hunting or parenting — which doesn’t fare well for the pups.

If the plan is successful, this strategy will bring more wolves to New Mexico’s wilds and will add much-needed genetic variety to the struggling population. We wish these fostered pups well, and will be monitoring their progress. Successful cross fostering would open the door to further improving genetic diversity in the wild population by placing pups born in captivity into wild dens. This complex strategy, however, cannot make up for what the Service must do now: release more wolves, complete a science-based recovery plan, and begin to establish the two new core populations that are necessary if lobos are to survive and thrive.

Tell the Service to take decisive action to rescue the Mexican gray wolf!


This blog was posted on the Defenders of Wildlife website.

Photo courtesy of Mexican wolf interagency field team

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