Mammal | Mexico
Sisters Izzy and Rachel made their way to Saginaw from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri. Rachel is a little bit smaller than her sister, Izzy, and lighter in color. These rare and magnificent animals are both a little shy, spending much of their time hiding behind the trees of their exhibit.
The Mexican grey wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf. Commonly referred to as “El lobo,” this wolf is grey with light brown fur on its back.
Izzy and Rachel are part of a very important reintroduction program. The Saginaw Children’s Zoo works in collaboration with the Mexican grey wolf SSP, AZA and their accredited facilities, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Arizona Game and Fish, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) to reintroduce Mexican grey wolves to their original wild range.
They have a younger brother and sister who were fostered into a wild den in New Mexico, and this pack welcomed pups in spring 2017! Izzy and Rachel’s siblings will learn pup-rearing behaviors from this pack that they will apply later in life.
In the wild: Elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, javelinas, rabbits, ground squirrels and mice
At the Zoo: Exotic canine chow and whole prey items
Mountains, forests, grasslands, and scrublands
International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) — endangered
Grey wolves, including the Mexican sub-species, have experienced dramatic population decline from their original global range. Originally the most widely-ranged mammal, the wolf has been globally persecuted due to misplaced fear by people.
Mexican grey wolves were almost eliminated from their historic range until protection efforts kicked in. The last remaining wild Mexican grey wolves, just five individuals, were collected to create the breeding program and save their species. Two additional animals were already living in human care, and were added to the program.
This breeding program has grown to span many AZA-accredited facilities and involves many conservation organizations. Thanks to captive breeding and reintroduction, there are now over 100 Mexican grey wolves in the wild.
Progress has been made, but there is still work to be done before the Mexican grey wolf can be listed as “recovered.”