Wolf pup offers new hope Regina Mossotti, director of animal care and conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center, holds a Mexican wolf born April 2 at the facility as it is checked by veterinarian Rhiannon McKnight, right, Monday, April 24, 2017, in Eureka, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Wolf pup offers new hope
Lexile

A Mexican wolf born in April at a wildlife center in suburban St. Louis is offering new hope for repopulating the endangered species through artificial insemination using frozen sperm.
 
The Mexican wolf population once roamed Mexico and the western U.S. in the thousands. But it was nearly wiped out by the 1970s, largely from decades of hunting, trapping and poisoning. The species commonly is known as "El Lobos." It is distinguished by a smaller, narrower skull and its gray and brown coloring. The Mexican wolf was designated an endangered species in 1976.
 
Even today, only 130 Mexican wolves live in the wild. Another 220 live in captivity, including 20 at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri.
 
A litter of Mexican wolves was conceived by artificial insemination in Mexico in 2014. But the birth April 2 at the Missouri center was the first for the breed using frozen semen.
 
Regina Mossotti is director of animal care and conservation at the center. She learned that the pup is a boy. He's gaining weight. He is now at 4.7 pounds after being less than 1 pound at birth. The wolf appears to be progressing well, she said after an exam of the wiggly pup. The little animal has not yet been named.
 
"He's big and strong and healthy!" Mossotti said as other wolves howled from a distance.
 
The center has collaborated with the other organizations for 20 years to freeze semen of Mexican wolves. The semen is stored at the St. Louis Zoo's cryopreservation gene bank, established specifically for the long-term conservation of endangered species.
 
A procedure to inseminate the mom, Vera, was performed Jan. 27.
 
"The technology has finally caught up," Mossotti said.
 
It's a big deal, experts say. That's because using frozen semen allows scientists to draw from a larger pool of genes, even from wolves that have died.
 
Mossotti said it's possible the pup eventually will be moved to the wild. It would feed largely on elk, deer and other large hoofed mammals. An adult Mexican wolf will weigh 60 to 80 pounds.
 
The Fish and Wildlife Service began reintroducing Mexican wolves in New Mexico and Arizona starting in 1998. The effort has been hurt by everything from politics to illegal killings and genetics. Many of the wolves in the wild have genetic ties to the suburban St. Louis center.
 
The nonprofit was founded in 1971 by zoologist Marlin Perkins. He is a St. Louis native best known as the host of TV's "Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom." Perkins died in 1986.
 
Mossotti said wolves are a "keystone" species. They play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem. She said the caricature of the "Big, Bad Wolf" is a myth about the animal. It actually shuns humans.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 337 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Wolves are predators. Why are they endangered?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (125)
  • lorennr-bur
    5/02/2017 - 09:21 a.m.

    The Mexican wolves are endangered because, they have very beautiful fur and people love that about them. So they go out and hunt these animals, kill them then take all of their fur off. After that they make them into clothing and are still doing it today. I think that it should be illegal for people to use animals for their fur. That is just bringing down the population and we need them for all different things.

  • chadm-orv
    5/02/2017 - 11:57 a.m.

    In the 1970s they were hunted,trapped, and poisoned leading to there almost extinction.

  • nathanm14-ste
    5/02/2017 - 01:04 p.m.

    Wolves are endangered because although they are predators, humans are bigger ones. Because of excessive hunting and trapping of these wolves, it has led to severe depopulation and now has led them close to extinction.

  • evar-kut
    5/02/2017 - 03:45 p.m.

    Wow those Mexican wolves are very interesting! it is sad that they are endangered they weigh as much as me very cool and cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • metau-cel
    5/03/2017 - 10:01 a.m.

    Today 220 wolves live in captivity and only 130 live in the wild, wolves are extremely important to keep a healthy ecosystem. Even thought wolves are predators, the Mexican wolf is currently endangered because of hunting, trapping, and poisoning that occurred in the 1970's, almost wiping out the population. Due to such a large harm in the wolf population they haven't been able to make a come back since so the procedures that these people are preforming to try to save them is vital to the Mexican wolves.

  • donatellan-bur
    5/03/2017 - 10:15 a.m.

    These types of wolves might be endangered because they are a special kind . Yes, wolves are predators but things also hunt them. Also this is not a regular wolves this is a Mexican wolves witch was endangered a long time . There must be something special about them.

    My special connection is that when something is special people are out to get it. So example would there was only 50 ruby necklaces in the world so people were buying it all over.Only 5 remained so people bought all and 1 was left and lost so every one thought they were gone but a architect found one and it would be worth billions.

  • mchristian-dav
    5/03/2017 - 04:08 p.m.

    That's amazing how web can work together as a species to help another species survive.

  • deriahm-bur
    5/03/2017 - 06:08 p.m.

    Wolves are endangered because of people hunting, trapping and poisoning these animals. They are also endangered because they are at the top of the food chain for most animals so more people want to hunt them (plus others think that they make great super). A personal connection that I have for this is when my dad got a dog and the dog's dad died and the saved the semen and made another generation of puppy's. Since there was only enough for one batch of puppy's it was almost $2,000 for the dog.

  • etomia-bur
    5/03/2017 - 07:14 p.m.

    They where hunted (maybe for money), trapped or poisoned. And they are predators to animals, humans are at the of the food chain.


    I think the should ban, because these wolves did nothing to deserve this treatment.

  • andreass-bur
    5/03/2017 - 10:49 p.m.

    Wolves and predators.Why are they endangered?Because they are hunted trapped poisoned and drowned by hunters. I seen a wolf in my dream

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT