by: John Rodriguez
Early this May the Wolf Conservation Center–located in South Salem, New York–announced and presented to the world eight rare Mexican Wolf pups which gives the rare wolf breed a 2% increase. Currently there are around 366 of the endangered breed in the world today. The liter consists of three females and five males who were born to Mexican Wolves identified as F749 and M740.
Peter Siminski, coordinator of the program to restore the Mexican Wolf program and of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, commented on the pups’ birth stating that “This is an important accomplishment for the Wolf Conversation Center because of all the careful planning and preparation that goes into the birth of a litter…it is always a good day…eight new pups in a world population of around 366 is a 2 percent increase.”
The new liter of pups could aid the population’s growth along with the aid of the federal program which has taken on the task of bringing the endangered breed back from near extinction by eventually reintroducing the newborns into the wild once they are old enough. According to Siminski there are an estimated 42 Mexican wolves living in the wild as of now while there are 324 in captivity at the moment.
The program began to reintroduce Mexican Wolves to the wild back in 1998, the breed of wolves are kept along the state line between New Mexico and Arizona. “This is an important accomplishment for the Wolf Conservation Center,” said Siminski, “because of all the careful planning and preparation that goes into the birth of a liter,” there is enough diversity in genetics to introduce pups born in captivity into the wild in order to increase the population.
“These pups are not only adorable, they’re also great contributions to the recovery of their species,” Siminski said. However, before the pups are introduced into the wild they going into a type of preliminary stage where chosen wolves are sent to a pre-release facility, where they are paired up with opposite-sex wolves in association to the selected wolves sex, and allowed to mate and raise pups within the facility to be sent out. The process decreases the chance of inbreeding which is just a factor as to why the breed’s population is at a low, aside from man’s contribution.
Like the pups parents the litter will not be named, according to Maggie Howell the managing director of the preserve fighting the urge to name the wolves is a way to limit human interaction and give the pups a better chance in the wild. “Hopefully one day these animals will get an opportunity to live in the wild so we’ll be doing very little with them in order to best equip them for a wild future,” said Howell, the conversation center staff do not help the parents raise the pups in order to increase their survive rate once in the wild.
While earning some media attention the pups are not public display, but due to the use of various webcams aimed at watching the new pack the public can view them on the center’s website at http://www.nywolf.org/. You can join in with staff members of the center who will also “remain glued to [their] eight webcams to watch the new parents care for their young and the arrival of more potential pups in the coming weeks.”
The Wolf Conservation Center is only 45 miles away from midtown Manhattan on the brink of the New York City suburbs so New Yorkers in the city won’t be bothered by the howls.