NewsNational News


Pup fostering gives genetic boost to wild Mexican wolves

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 20:04:16-04

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A dozen Mexican gray wolf pups are being raised by wild packs in Arizona and New Mexico as biologists mark another season of playing matchmaker to bolster the genetics of the endangered species.

The foster program involves placing captive-born wolves into the dens of established packs as part of an ongoing effort to return the wolves to their historic range in the American Southwest.

Five of the wolf pups were placed in dens in Arizona and seven were placed in New Mexico between April 18 and May 10, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said in a news release to ABC15.

“This is one of the most important conservation efforts in the history of Mexican wolf recovery,” said Jim deVos, assistant director for Wildlife Management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in a statement. “Given the very small initial population of wolves, infusing new genetics into the growing wolf population is a crucial step to recovery. The field team worked tirelessly to locate dens and transfer pups to make this important contribution to wildlife conservation a success.”

The wolf pups came from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri, Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana, Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, and Wolf Conservation Center in New York, according to the news release.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Maggie Dwire says this marks the most pups to be fostered in a single season since the technique was first used in 2014.

For fostering to work, the timing has to be just right. The pups are usually less than two weeks old when they're placed with a surrogate pack.