ALBUQUERQUE, NM - With threats of disease, malnutrition and even inbreeding, the deck can be stacked against a Mexican gray wolf pup.
Federal wildlife managers have long been troubled by the survival rates of wild-born pups, so they're experimenting in an effort to boost the population as they reintroduce the predator to the American Southwest.
Biologists have transplanted a pair of 2-week-old pups born in a large litter to another pack of wolves with a smaller litter and more rearing experience.
The cross-fostering technique has worked with red wolves on the East Coast. It has not been tried with Mexican wolves until now.
Biologists say the goal is not only to grow the population, but to have wolves that are genetically diverse and can steer clear of trouble while living in the wild.