Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan Update
The Wolf Conservation Center reports good news on their blog:
“The Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan Annual Meeting came to an end over the weekend and we now have some excellent news to report! One of the chief items on the meeting’s agenda is the determination of wolf breeding pairs. During the meeting, the management group establishes which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. In 2011, there could be a potential “puppy boom” with 8 breeding pairs in the program! The Wolf Conservation Center is honored to house one of the chosen pairs, Mexican wolves F810 & M740. F810 is the #1-ranked Mexican gray wolf female in the U.S.! Both wolves are genetically valuable individuals and they have been given the opportunity to breed because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species and enhance that species’ chance to survive and thrive in the wild. F810 has called the WCC home since 2004 and this fall will mark M740’s one-year anniversary since his arrival from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL. This winter will mark their second opportunity to breed.
The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY is hosting the 2010 Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) Annual Meeting. This meeting brings together representatives from dozens of facilities participating in the Mexican Wolf SSP, including Fish and Wildlife Agencies from the US and Mexico, for an update on all aspects of the effort to save the critically endangered Mexican wolf from extinction, and the recovery of a sustainable population in the wild. This morning, Mexican federal biologists along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials announced that they plan to release a five-member pack of wolves south of the New Mexico-Arizona border in the Mexican state of Sonora as early as September. A second release of a pregnant pair of wolves is targeted for the winter of 2011 and additional pairs could be released in the same area that following summer.
This move represents a significant step in the effort to grow the wild Mexican wolf population, which numbered just 42 at the end of 2009. Mexico hasn’t been home to the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf in decades.
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), or “lobo,” is the smallest, southernmost occurring, and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Aggressive predator control programs at the turn of the century all but exterminated the Mexican wolf from the wild. With the capture of the last 7 remaining wild Mexican wolves approximately 30 years ago, a captive breeding program was initiated helping to save the Mexican wolf from extinction. Today, the captive population consists of over 300 animals, and encompasses close to 50 zoos and wildlife facilities throughout the United States and Mexico."
You can read more about the meeting and the Wolf Conservation Center Here.