ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Eight Mexican gray wolf pups are being raised by surrogate parents in the wild as federal biologists look to improve the genetic diversity of the wild population in Arizona and New Mexico.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says four pups were placed into wild dens in late April — two in Arizona and two in New Mexico. Four more pups were placed with a New Mexico pack in May.
The agency says the cross-fostering technique is a way of getting captive-born pups into the litters of experienced wild female wolves.
The agency's Southwest regional director, Amy Lueders, says biologists are adaptively managing the wolves to produce a population that is genetically robust and has desirable wild behavior.
Efforts to reintroduce the endangered wolves have been ongoing for two decades.