FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Kim Young, Communications Dir.
Wolf Haven International
360.704.[HOWL] 9440 or 360.264.4695 x217
TENINO, WA- Wolf Haven International is proud to be the host for this year’s annual Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) meeting. Delegates from Mexico and the U.S. will meet in Olympia, WA on July 12 & 13 to discuss one of the most endangered mammals in the world, the Mexican gray wolf. An estimated 40-50 biologists, scientists and wildlife experts will participate in the 2-day conference, where decisions will be made regarding breeding pairs of captive wolves for 2013 and candidates for release into the wild.
The Mexican wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, was nearly exterminated in the wild. By the 1970s, the population was so low that wildlife officials realized that the only way to save the species was to capture remaining wild wolves and begin a captive breeding program, with the goal of their eventual reintroduction to historic ranges. The entire Mexican gray wolf SSP population was founded by only seven wolves from three genetic lines. Today, forty years later, there are still estimated to be fewer than 60 Mexican wolves in the wild, with most in Arizona and New Mexico.
On Day 1 of the conference, attendees will discuss the status of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program in both Mexico and in the United States. This will include a report on wolves living in the wild and the global captive population. On Day 2, presentations will be given on subjects ranging from the transport and airlift of wolves to the merits of a “hands on” vs. “hands off” approach in animal husbandry. By the end of the meeting, all Mexican wolves in the SSP program are ensured a home and determinations will be made regarding selection of pairs, recommendations for breeding, semen collection, and pre-release candidates.
In 1994, Wolf Haven International was selected to participate as both a breeding facility and a pre-release facility in the SSP program for the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf. Wolf Haven Intl. is one of only three pre-release facilities in the U.S. for the Mexican gray wolf, and has released two packs (11 wolves) into the wild over the past 15 years. Five litters of Mexican gray pups have been born there, and in 2009, six of the sanctuary’s female Mexican wolves were transferred to another SSP facility, the Museo del Desierto in Saltillo, Mexico.
The Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The mission of Wolf Haven International is to conserve and protect wolves and their habitat. Wolf Haven Intl. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit currently celebrating its 30 year anniversary. Over 170 wolves have been rescued and provided a lifetime home since 1982. Visit www.wolfhaven.org for hours and other information.