Anna (F685) was the most genetically valuable Mexican wolf puppy in the federal program when she was born on April 22, 2001 at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center. Her birth and survival to adulthood seem almost miraculous. Santa Ana (M412), her father, who was added to the captive breeding program with other Ghost Ranch animals in 1995, had failed to reproduce during the previous five years. At age thirteen, he was past the age when any known Mexican wolf males had fathered viable pups. His health was failing. In a last-ditch attempt to preserve his important genetic heritage, he was paired with Tanamara (F547), a three-year-old McBride lineage wolf.
Tanamara’s youthful charms apparently inspired Santa Ana. The pair mated, Tanamara conceived, and about two months later she delivered her first litter of three pups. Perhaps because she was a first-time mom, she lost two of the three pups within a few days. Concerned that Santa Ana’s valuable genes would be lost forever, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed Wild Canid director Susan Lyndaker Lindsey, who had experience in hand-raising wolf pups, to remove the surviving female, Anna, from her mother temporarily. She bottle-fed Anna for a few days, and soon the growing pup was returned to her mother’s care.
Francisco (M60), who by this time had lost his long-time mate, Sheila (F37), became foster father to little Anna, and to another young pup, M681, known as Rocky, who had been removed from the wild on June 10. Santa Ana, in poor health for over a year, died on July 26, 2001. His legacy lives on in Anna and her many pups.