A wolf found in Colombia, far from its natural habitat, is exhibited in the Santa Fe Zoo in Medellin, the second largest city, after a period of quarantine to monitor its health, said the zoo, Wednesday.
"Surely the animal came to Colombia via illegal wildlife trafficking; they normally sell pups because they are much easier to transport," a team veterinarian for animal welfare in the zoo of the department of Antioquia (northwest) told AFP Jonathan Alvarez.
In early January, residents of the rural town of La Estrella, south of Medellin, contacted the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Central Antioquia to communicate that they had detected the mammal, which is usually located in the northern hemisphere.
This regional environmental authority will determine if the wolf will remain in Colombia or if it will be sent to the United States.
"There is no record of any other wolves in Colombia," said Alvarez.
Zoo technicians are almost certain that this is a gray wolf, but they do not rule out that the wolf may be another subspecies.
"We are waiting on the experts to do some genetic testing to determine if the wolf is a gray wolf or wolf subspecies and to learn what region of the continent or the world the animal belongs," said Alvarez, who suspects that the wolf may even be a wolf-hybrid.
"It could be a hybrid wolf-dog that is marketed extensively in the United States and Mexico," he said. "These crossings of a wolf with a domestic dog is banned in some US states," he added.
The animal, named Amarok, by the employees of the zoo, is the name of a mythological wolf in Scandinava culture; it is about one and a half years old, which is considered a young adult in this species. It measures about 1.10 meters and is in good health.
After entering the zoo with low body mass and its coat in poor condition, the wolf regained his weight with a special diet that included beef and bison specially purchased from Canada. Alvarez said that there is an indentation of where a collar was worn on the wolf's neck.The gray wolf was considered in danger of extinction in the United States until 2011; wolves usually live in North America, Europe, Asia, parts of North Africa, and Australia.