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" and is distinguished by a smaller, more narrow 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, and she learned that the pup is a boy. He's gaining weight and 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.

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


COMMENTS (28)
  • joshuaa-bur
    5/02/2017 - 08:30 a.m.

    The wolves are endanger because in the 1970s these wolves where trapped, hunted, and poisoned. Though wouldn't it be cool to have one as your own? They probably wont allow this because they are endangered but still, just a thought.

  • keasiak-bur
    5/02/2017 - 08:56 p.m.

    The reason that wolves are endangered is because of hunting, trapping, and poisoning. I believe wolves are endangered because of their fur. They have soft thick fur that has multiple uses.

  • JSanchez03
    5/03/2017 - 10:55 a.m.

    this article is very lame and uninteresting

  • charliet-orv
    5/03/2017 - 11:56 a.m.

    Because when we started hunting here we invaded where they lived. We then thought they were deadly, so we started killing them.

  • hcicily-dav
    5/03/2017 - 12:52 p.m.

    In response to, "Wolf pup offers new hope", I think it is important to make sure wolves are not endangered. This is important because wolves are predators and they keep the ecosystem balanced and equal. The Mexican wolf population was almost wiped out in the 1970's but they are regenerating again. "Even today, only 130 Mexican wolves live in the wild." There are 220 that ive in captivity in St. Louis, Missouri. They are trying to rebreed more Mexican wolves so they are not near endangerment. They are doing ths by using frozen semen which is a new way to breed the wolves from a larger range of genes. In conclusion, this is very important.

  • TBooker-ing
    5/03/2017 - 01:31 p.m.

    This is a really good story. The story is talking about a Mexican born wolf. The story is giving you information about the baby Mexican born wolf. Also I really think they're so adorable.

  • mtaylor-dav
    5/03/2017 - 06:32 p.m.

    This article is about an endangered species of Mexican wolves being genetically beget. The species was nearly wiped out in the 1970s and there are about 130 wolves in the wild and 220 live in captivity. A wildlife center in St. Louis is trying to increase the population of the Mexican wolves by artificial insemination using frozen sperm. There was a breed of the insemination and the first breed was born April 2 2014. The Mexican wolf weighed the normal amount for a pup and is healthy and strong like a normal wolf. "Scientists to draw from a larger pool of genes, even from wolves that have died." This quote shows that genetically helping endangered species can lead to new things.

  • ialexis-dav
    5/04/2017 - 07:32 a.m.

    In response to "Wolf pup offers new hope," I agree that the Mexican wolf pup does offer a sign of hope for these endangered animals. One reason I agree is that the wolves play a key role in the ecosystem. They help keep other populations of animals in check. Another is that the main reason they were killed was because people feared for their livestock. Through means of trapping, hunting, and poisoning, many were whipped out in less then a decade. It says in the article "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". That's not that much wolves out in the wild were they belong, so the wolf pup is a sign that they can still save the species. A third reason is that each animal species deserves a chance to thrive and just go with the flow of nature. Even though some might say that its just a wolf, there are more wolves out there as well, I think that each species of wolves are unique and they all deserve a chance.

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

    wolves are endangered because of people. we hunt them for their fur and other things. We destroy their habitat so they have less space to to travel.

  • ahnad-orv
    5/04/2017 - 11:36 a.m.

    It's crazy how many animals have been close to gone. It is ever crazier that there is technology to bring them back.

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