Friday, May 20, 2016

See Wolf Conservation Center's new pup

Kevin Phelan,

The chorus of howls at South Salem's Wolf Conservation Center is about to get a little bit louder.
A lone wolf pup, nicknamed "Trumpet" on account of his loud squeals, was born May 4, joining the center's current assemblage of 20 wolves.

Trumpet, a Mexican gray wolf — a critically endangered subspecies of gray wolves — weighed in at 1.5 pounds and looked healthy during his first examination on May 12, according to Maggie Howell, the center's executive director.

"We’re very hands off with these critically endangered wolves, so what we did was let the family be for the first seven days and we didn’t go in until the little guy was 8 days old," Howell said.

It will take about two years for Trumpet to reach his full size, according to Howell, though she said most of his maturation will be done within a year. The average weight for a fully-grown male Mexican gray wolf is 55-80 pounds and Trumpet's father, a wolf designated M1133, weighs around 70 pounds, which Howell said is a good indicator for what Trumpet will reach.

As Trumpet grows, those interested can check in on him and the center's other wolves through the live webcam broadcasts available at nywolf.org. Once he reaches adulthood, Howell said there are a few different possibilities for how he will live out his life.

"He might be breeding, so he might find a lady here at the Wolf Center or might be transferred to a different facility where a lady will be," she said. "He also could possibly become a release candidate. He’s definitely extremely valuable in terms of his genetics."

As recently as a 1982 count, there were as few as seven Mexican gray wolves on the planet. The entire wild population had died out and the remaining animals were all in captivity, Howell said. As of the most recent count, 97 lived in the wild and 250 in captivity.

"They’re all descendants from these seven individual wolves," Howell said. "So really it’s genetics that drive all decisions when it comes to management."

In past years, the center has released three adult Mexican grey wolves in the wild.

Another possibility is Trumpet could serve as an ambassador wolf. The center currently has four wolves that are acclimated to humans and utilized either onsite or in the community to teach the public about wolves' roles in the environment, their behaviors and the plight facing the species.

And Trumpet might not be the only addition to the center's stable this summer.

Two more wolf pairs — one a red wolf duo and an additional two Mexican grey wolves — bred earlier this year. Howell said staff at the center aren't confident the female red wolf is pregnant, but that her grey wolf counterpart is showing positive signs.

"She’s recently plucked the hair from her big swollen belly and this is a custom for expectant mothers when prepping for pups," Howell explained.

And since the center's dens are monitored by live webcams, "the good thing is also she’s been doing a lot of prepping in her den, so hopefully she’ll choose that den to have her pups," Howell said.

The private facility does not allow drop-in visits; however the center often hosts programming and special events that guests can register to attend. Find out more at nywolf.org or 914-763-2373.

 source