BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce two new additions to the Zoo family, a pair of young Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi). Born on May 13, 2017 at the Endangered Wolf Center of Eureka, Missouri, the brothers arrived on December 6, 2018, and have been in quarantine, required for any new Zoo arrival. The males have now joined the Zoo’s remaining female to begin a small pack. The Zoo lost a second female due to a medically untreatable condition last month. Guests will be able to view the three Mexican Gray wolves between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily from the W.O.L.F. Cabin (Wolf Observation Learning Facility).
As with the female Mexican Gray wolves, the brothers will not be named. This serves to emphasize their wild status, and helps to prevent human/wolf interaction so that a re-introduction to the wild at some point may be possible. No breeding is planned for the new pack, although a Species Survival Plan recommendation may be made in the future. The Species Survival Program (SSP) is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) breeding and management program designed to preserve the long-term sustainability of animal populations in human care.
The existing Mexican gray wolf at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo was born in 2007 at the California Wolf Center in Julian, Calif. The Zoo is also home to two Red wolves, one male named Peanut, and one female named Shy. The Mexican gray wolves and the Red wolves are two of the rarest mammals in North America. Both species at one time were completely extinct in the wild.
“Both species of wolves at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are imperiled. It is only through managed breeding and reintroduction that they survive in the wild today,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “We’re pleased to add two new wolves to our Wolf Observation Learning Facility, and offer our guests an incredible opportunity to see these beautiful and fascinating animals up close.”
Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, returning the Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo” to the wild was a significant milestone for wildlife conservation efforts. More than a million wolves were killed in the U.S. between 1850 and 1900. In 1907, a call was made for the extinction of the entire species. Throughout the wolf’s history, they have been hunted and reviled due to fear and misunderstanding.
In 1998, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 11 Mexican gray wolves back into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, in an effort to restore balance to the Southwest’s ecosystems under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves contribute to the health of the environment by keeping deer, elk and javelina populations in check, preventing these animals from population growth that results in overgrazing and the destruction of habitat that other species depend upon.
About the Mexican Gray Wolf
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo,” is the most genetically distinct lineage of gray wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid 1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in human care. In 1998, a new chapter in the Mexican gray wolf’s history began, with a homecoming that changed the landscape. According to the Wolf Conservation Center, today in the U.S. there is a single wild population comprising only 114 individuals, a slight increase from the 113 counted at the end of the 2016.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut's only zoo, celebrating its 97thanniversary this year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won't want to miss our Amur tigers, Amur leopards, Brazilian ocelot, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarins. Other highlights include the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, the South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas, plus the Pampas Plain featuring Maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For