288 weeks since last adult wolf release!
Lobos of the Southwest




What You Can Do

Captive Breeding to the Rescue

Captive Pups

In their darkest days, only five Mexican gray wolves—including just one female—could be found in the wild. Professional biologists at the nation’s leading zoos and other wildlife facilities helped pull Mexican gray wolves back from the brink of extinction by creating a captive breeding program which now involves over 50 facilities across the United States and Mexico.

Launching the Program

The breeding program got off to a rough start. The only female—who was pregnant at the time of capture—gave birth to four males and one female, but the female pup died four days later. Fortunately, in 1981, at the Endangered Wolf Center (formerly Wild Canid Survival and Research Center) in Eureka, Missouri, this wild-caught female gave birth to one male and three female pups, all of which survived and reproduced in captivity.

By 1983 the captive breeding program was more firmly established with the birth of three litters totaling 15 pups. This breeding line of Mexican wolves is called the "McBride" lineage for the name of the trapper who caught the founders. Only one of the four males and the female successfully bred in captivity, and the unknown wild mate of the captured pregnant female is considered a third founder of the McBride lineage.

There were two other breeding lines of what were thought by some to be Mexican wolves, one in the U.S. called the "Ghost Ranch" line and one in Mexico called the "Aragón" line. Thanks to DNA testing, a team of experts was able to confirm that these wolves were in fact pure Mexican gray wolves, and these wolves were then included in the breeding program.

Today's wild wolves and all of those remaining in captivity can be traced to the seven Mexican gray wolves—four males and three females—that survived the U.S. government's extermination program.

Captive breeding has continued, and as of July 2008 there were 327 Mexican wolves living in 47 captive wolf breeding or holding facilities in the United States and Mexico, many of which are zoos.

Wolf Exhibits

 

Arizona

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson

Heritage Park Zoo
Prescott

Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park
Window Rock

The Phoenix Zoo
Phoenix

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
Scottsdale

California

California Wolf Center
Julian

The Living Desert
Palm Desert

Colorado

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Divide

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park
Colorado Springs

Illinois

Brookfield Zoo / Chicago Zoological Society
Brookfield

Indiana

Evansville

Kansas

Sedgwick County Zoo
Wichita

Massachusetts

Zoo New England
Boston

Michigan

Binder Park Zoo
Battle Creek

Minnesota

Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley

Wildlife Science Center
Forest Lake

Missouri

Endangered Wolf Center
Eureka

Dickerson Park Zoo
Springfield

New Mexico

Alameda Park Zoo
Alamogordo

Albuquerque Biological Park
Albuquerque

Hillcrest Park Zoo
Clovis

Living Desert State Park
Carlsbad

Wildlife West Nature Park
Edgewood

New York

Wolf Conservation Center
South Salem

Utica Zoo
Utica

North Dakota

Dakota Zoo
Bismarck

Ohio

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Cincinnati

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cleveland

Columbus Zoological Garden
Powell

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Zoo
Oklahoma City

Pennsylvania

Lehigh Valley Zoo
Schnecksville

Texas

El Paso Zoo
El Paso

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Glen Rose

Washington

Wolf Haven International
Tenino

Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Zoo

Mexico

Africam Safari
Puebla, Puebla Mexico

Museo del Desierto
Saltillo, Coah, Mexico

Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico "Alfonso L. Herrera" del Bosque de Chapultepec
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico de León
León, Guanajuato Mexico

Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico

Zoológico "Los Coyotes"
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico Tamatán
Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas Mexico

Zoológico Zacango
Toluca, México Mexico