Two endangered Mexican wolf pups have recently been released into the wild in Arizona from Kansas zoo.
Male puppy, Traveler, and female pup, Jaunt, were born at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita. They were placed with a litter when they were just two weeks old last month.
Biologists successfully bolstered the genetics of the endangered species, as they managed to take care and raise the two, along with a dozen of the Mexican gray wolf pups.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Maggie Dwire said that since the start of the fostering program in 2014, this marks the most pups fostered in a single season.
“This is one of the most important conservation efforts in the history of Mexican wolf recovery,” Jim de Vos, assistant director for Wildlife Management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said in a statement. “Given the very small initial population of wolves, infusing new genetics into the growing population is a crucial step to recovery. The field team worked tirelessly to locate dens and transfer pups to make this important contribution to wildlife conservation a success.”
The program involves placing the captive-born into the dens of established packs. In a news release to ABC15, the Arizona Game and Fish Department revealed that five of the wolf pups were placed in Arizona, while seven were taken to New Mexico dens from April 18 to May 10.
Senior zookeeper Nancy Smith claimed the packs are doing well.
Mexican wolves are considered critically endangered with only less than 150 of them in the wild. They are native to Arizona and New Mexico in the southern United States, as well as in Chihuahua, Mexico.