The pups were born late in May and have recently begun to make their way out of the den for the first time to explore their two acre habitat. They have been spotted playing with 3 year old mother, Zana and 5 year old father, Flint. These are the first pups for both parents.
“The Chicago Zoological Society is very excited about the birth of this litter. It is rewarding to be a part of a successful international program for the recovery of Mexican gray wolves in North America,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs. “Additionally, this is such a wonderful opportunity for our guests to see the wolf puppies as they interact with each other and their parents as a family unit and develop into adults.”
Brookfield Zoo participates in a breeding program for this endangered species. This program is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Mexican grey wolves are a subspecies of the North American grey wolf. It is believed that without a recovery program they would have gone extinct by now.
The pups will spend the next year with their parents helping to raise their next litter allowing them to learn how to be good parents. Once they have done this they may be chosen to return to the wild.
Currently 248 Mexican grey wolves are held by 55 institutions across the United States and Mexico. As a result of a reintroduction project 110 wolves can be seen in the wilds of the Apache and Gila National Forests located in Arizona and New Mexico. During Spring 2014 the first wild born pups in 30 years were found. During this year 15 of the packs that live in the wild have shown denning behaviours with some pups already found.
Photo Credit: Jim Schulz/ Chicago Zoological Society