A total of 86 Mexican Gray wolves now living in Arizona wild
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Thanks to collaborative effort between the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Arizona Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the population of the Mexican Gray Wolf – North America’s smallest and most endangered – wolf has grown.
Wildlife officials report the population has grown from 84 to 86 Mexican Gray Wolves now living in Arizona’s wild due to recent births of two pups on April 30. Following the birth at Southwest Wildlife, which is just outside Scottsdale, both pups were flown six days later by Arizona Game and Fish officials where the pups were released into the wild a part of the same den.
“This represents a new level of our participation in the species survival program and there were so many firsts in this story,” said Dr. Leo Egar, animal health director at Southwest Wildlife, in a prepared statement.
“Not only did we have unprecedented births of two of the most endangered wolves in North America, but then following the births we were able to go in under the cover of darkness several days later, removed the pups and got them on an Arizona Fish and Game plane, and took them to near native dens where awaiting biologists snuck into the den and placed the pups. Three agencies were working as a collaborative team to make this happen and it was quite extraordinary.”
Dr. Egar reports he believes that “Melly,” the wolf who gave birth to one of the pups, may be the oldest to do so.
“We are truly honored to have participated in the conservation of this critically endangered species,” he said.
“As an ethical wildlife education and rehabilitation facility, Southwest Wildlife is dedicated to providing the opportunity for wildlife to live in the wild where they belong, and we will only breed as part of structured species survival plan. Providing wolf pups with the chance to grow up wild and eventually provide their genes to better the wild population as a whole by cross-fostering could improve the quality of life of an endangered species and we are proud to have been part of that process.”