Record number of Mexican wolf pups cross-fostered in wild

Since the cross-fostering program began in 2014, 30 pups, including these at the Brookfield Zoo, have been born in captivity and released to dens in the wild. ©Chicago Zoological Society

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 12 Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) pups were cross-fostered into the wild this year — the highest number ever in a single breeding season. Since the program began in 2014, 30 pups born in captivity have been taken to the wild to be fostered in dens. The technique is intended to boost the genetic diversity of the wolves in the wild. This year’s pups came from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri, the Wolf Conservation Center in New York and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. “Given the very small initial population of wolves, infusing new genetics into the growing wolf population is a crucial step to recovery,” Jim deVos, assistant director for wildlife management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department, told the Associated Press. At least 131 Mexican wolves now exist in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

Read more from the Associated Press here.