Wolf pup offers new hope
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
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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.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/wolf-pup-offers-new-hope/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Wolves are predators. Why are they endangered?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (140)
  • sterlingt-
    5/04/2017 - 08:34 a.m.

    how come its so many endangerd wolf pups in america and why arnt there none in new jersey where we live

  • natalies-
    5/04/2017 - 08:35 a.m.

    This is a "Mexican Wolf", which means it is a different kind of wolf than normal, so its easier for them to be endangered.

  • dejaunn-
    5/04/2017 - 08:37 a.m.

    People are killing the wolfs for what ever reason.

  • mariano-
    5/04/2017 - 08:38 a.m.

    Yes wolves are predators but that doesn't mean that others can't hurt them. Everyone has a weakness, and wolves probably is harder for them to defend themselves from humans. Humans are more advanced than any creature in this planet, it wouldn't be hard for them to get a gun and shoot from a distance that is far and safe. Humans are what is killing them, that's why they are endangered.

  • shyeg-
    5/04/2017 - 08:45 a.m.

    The wolves are endangered because humans think they are nothing but vicious creatures. These wolves deserve a home in the wild, and they deserve to not be hunted. I think its time to stand up against people hunting the wolves, and treat them like they are one of us. Our dogs are descendants from wolves. I don't think you would want to run around killing innocent dogs, so don't do it to the wolves.

  • elijahg-bur
    5/04/2017 - 09:21 a.m.

    The wolves are endangered because people are killing them. I think people should stop killing them.

  • sylviemb-buh
    5/04/2017 - 09:43 a.m.

    A wolf pup was born in the Mexico wildlife center! The wolf pup is the first pup to be born from a frozen sperm! This is really cool! The wolf pup is really cute. I hope people can figure out how to do this with other animals.

  • makenziev-pla
    5/04/2017 - 11:04 a.m.

    This article talks about the successful birth of a Mexican Wolf (a breed that is very close to going extinct). The article describes how the process of using frozen semen to inseminate female wolves is finally starting to take hold and with the recent birth of a pup, this breed could start to turn around and gain a better foothold in the world. This article relates to civic engagement because many times breeds of animals begin to go extinct do to disruptive human behaviors. Between destroying their natural homes and overhunting these animals, humans can often cause animals to go extinct and now that there is a way that we can help these wolves regain their numbers, we should do everything we can to make sure that they don't come this close to extinction again!

  • richardk-orv
    5/04/2017 - 11:47 a.m.

    they are endangered since they have fur and people can sell them. Also they are predators and are killing animals that hunters kill.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    5/04/2017 - 12:59 p.m.

    Wolves are endangered because people hunt them a lot. I think that it is great they are coming back because they play an important role in our environment.

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