In the Press: Rare Wolf Pups Born at California Wolf Center
By Julie Pendray
Their names are "f1226" and "m1227" but they are so much more adorable than their names convey.
Two Mexican Gray Wolf pups have entered the fold at California Wolf Center in Julian. …
With only 50 of this endangered species left in the wild, the center states on its website that "these rare pups are critical to the survival of this unique subspecies."
A spokesperson for the non-profit organization wrote on the Facebook page: "Here at CWC we do choose not to name them just because we hope that they do go to other centers or better to the wild. It makes it easier for us not to get attached to them."
The center is the fourth largest breeding facility for Mexican Gray Wolves in the world and the third largest in the United States, Kevin Schmelzlen, conservation associate, told Ramona Patch on a tour in March. See the video of that tour with this story. There are currently 17 Mexican Grays at the center. The endangered species is part of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) oversees all their breeding there. Some of the wolves are able to be released into Arizona and New Mexico.
Breeding season is in February, so the center separates the wolves from January through April and the FWS selects the breeding pair.
"During breeding season, hormones kick up and we do have a few more skirmishes among the sisters," Schmelzlen said. "They do get a bit more antagonistic." …
California Wolf Center sits on 45 acres off KQ Ranch Road, behind the KQ Campground on Highway 79. Enclosures range from 3/4 acre to four acres in size. Double perimeter fencing is required for the Mexican Grays because "they're good jumpers," Schmelzlen said.
He said wolves don't see humans as prey.
"They see us as tall, skinny bears."
Schmelzlen said wolves are at least as smart as domesticated dogs.
"They have an excellent memory. Once they learn something, they never forget."
The male wolves at the center can weigh up to about 100 pounds. Wolves can eat 22 pounds at a sitting, Schmelzlen said. At the center, they're fed carcasses on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The food supply comes from a variety of sources — a dairy in San Diego county, large road kill offered by law enforcement and fish sometimes provided by the Navy.
The pressure of a wolf's jaw bones is an astounding 1,500 pounds, Schmelzlen said, more than twice that of a coyote. The paw prints are four times the size of a coyote, he said.
California Wolf Center is open year round. About 150 people tour the location each weekend, on average. Private tours also are available. Reservations are required for all visits.
Heat tends to send the wolves under the shade of trees, whereas winter moisture and lower temperatures can make them more active and visitors may have better viewing opportunities. The center is at 4,600 feet and has been known to give tours even in snow. However, visitors should check road conditions before heading out to see the wolves; roads can get icy and force cancellation of tours.
Wolves aren't any different, apparently, than dogs, when it comes to chewing on collars. The caption with the video of the pups on Facebook reads: "Here are two of our pups wondering what we are doing with a camera ... We are happy to say still no chewing on the collars. They seem to forget they are even there."
On Father's Day, the center honored the father of the pups, "m863" on Facebook.
"This gorgeous guy used to live in the wild in New Mexico. He was recaptured for killing some cattle — a shame, in my opinion. But I'm delighted that he's a dad again. Go, M863!"
The mother was also removed from the wild for the same reason.
In case you're wondering, her name is "F1046."
Click here to visit the California Wolf Center on Facebook.
Photo credit: Mexican wolf pups courtesy of the Endangered Wolf Center. Note: these are not the pups in the story above.