ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that several Mexican gray wolf pups born in captivity and fostered into wild wolf packs have survived – a first for the species recovery program.
Earlier this year, the Service transferred six pups born at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois and the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri into the care of wild wolf packs – four in Arizona and two New Mexico.
Researchers have confirmed that at least two of the six pups survived in Arizona and they are working to confirm whether the others made it, as well, the Service said in a statement last week.
Compared with the release of adult wolves into the wild, the technique called “cross-fostering” has had greater acceptance in some localities because the young pups have had minimal contact with humans and are raised by wolves in the wild.
Last year, New Mexico Game and Fish prohibited wolf releases on the grounds that the Service has not completed a formal plan for wolf recovery. The Service placed two wolf pups in New Mexico this year anyway, citing its federal mandate to recover the species.