Absolutely adorable, but also extremely endangered, a litter of Mexican Grey Wolves were born at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois much to the delight of conservationists. The Zoo is thrilled to have the puppies, not only because they are a now an attraction that will draw in visitors by the droves to see the pint-sized predators, but also because this is a huge step in restoring the critically endangered Mexican Grey Wolf population.
Sad state of affairs concerning the numbers of Mexican Grey Wolves
It is unfortunate that the numbers of wolves have dwindled so low, but the outlook is bright for the species considering a jump in numbers that they’ve had in the wild according to Arizona Game and Fish director Larry Voyles, “In 2010, there were 50 Mexican wolves in the wild; today there are 109, a more than doubling of the population in Arizona and New Mexico. With our Mexican wolf population consisting of wild-born wolves, we expect the growth rates observed this year to continue into the future.”
These figures offer a glimmer of hope for the species which at one point was on the brink of extinction, and with continued efforts the species could once again be abundant.
Newest members of the Brookfield Zoo family
The pups were born in late May, but this is first opportunity that zoo-goers have had to view the tiny canines. While they were born in Chicago, chances are that the pups will move around several times during their lives to help promote efforts of repopulation.
According to the Brookfield Zoo’s new brief on the pups, “Although this particular litter was born too late in the season to be a part of USFWS’s pup-fostering efforts occurring with wild wolves, all the puppies are potential candidates for future release to the wild when they are adults.”
Brookfield is well established in its practice of fostering wolves, in fact the first successful Mexican Grey Wolf raised in captivity, and then released in the wild, came from the Brookfield Zoo.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is currently monitoring the ongoing effort to renew populations of the once numerous Mexican Grey Wolf. In fact, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services published a chart showing the increase from only 4 Mexican Grey Wolves left in the wild in 1998 to the over 100 that live in the wild today. At one point it looked as though the world was going to lose the Mexican Grey Wolf forever, but thanks to zoos like Brookfield for housing these precious grey pups the wolves have a fighting chance at survival.