Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Mating Game: Couple Number One!

Hey folks!  Welcome the Wolf Conservation Center's THE MATING GAME! Now that wolf breeding season has come to a close, it's time to wait and see which of our lucky four breeding pairs will be winners of game. The winning couples will be celebrating their pups come this month or next and global "audience" (that means you!) will be able to help us keep an eye on all four of our wolf-couple "contestants!" In the next week or so, the WCC and WildEarth.TV will be launching EIGHT brand new LIVE WOLFCAMS on all of our breeding pairs (I'm still wondering when I get my camera...) So, before we start prying into the secret lives our lucky pairs, some introductions are in order.

Couple Number One: Mexican Wolves M740 and F749

F749
Every summer the Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determine which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. Although the use of software in the game of love sounds creepy, this method of match-making helps create the most genetically diverse Mexican wolf population possible. Mexican Wolves M740 and F749 don't realize this, but scientists all over North America are crossing their fingers that will prove fruitful. M740 and F749 are a vital pair with the lowest inbreeding coefficient in the MWSSP!

M740
M740 is nine years old and has called the WCC home since his transfer from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL in October of 2009. He was paired with Mexican wolf F810 for the past two years but the couple failed to produce pups. So last fall, we moved F810 to live with her brothers, M804 and M807, and introduced F749 to M740 for the very first time. F749 is the same age and joined the WCC family in December of 2009 after living at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico. So far the pair gets along well enough, but have they struck a love connection? We'll soon find out. Hopefully they have fallen head over paws!

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