Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mexican Wolves Make Sizable Investment

Mexican gray wolf F613
Winter is here and it’s an exciting time for wolves and the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC)! Wolves are “mono-estrus” -- breeding only once a year during the winter months. In addition to being a time for wolf romance, winter also provides facilities participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) an opportunity to take progressive measures to enhance the health and recovery of a rare species.

In order to maintain genetic diversity within the Mexican gray wolf population, older captive females are often spayed. This measure benefits the health of the wolf, permits her to remain with male companions during breeding season, and gives the Mexican wolf SSP an opportunity to conserve the wolf's remaining viable eggs for future use in the Mexican wolf in vitro fertilization program. Last month Mexican gray wolf F613, one of the 15 lobos that call the WCC home, unknowingly made the a priceless contribution, and she wasn't alone! The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Wildlife Contraceptive Center reports that 632 oocytes were extracted from 12 different Mexican wolves. This represents the largest "harvest" and number of donors in the history of the Mexican Wolf SSP. This valuable investment for the future was deposited at the Mexican Wolf Gamete Bank at the Saint Louis Zoo.

 Big thanks to the eight institutions that made this effort possible: The Wildlife Science Center, the Albuquerque Biopark, the Sedgwick County Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, the Wolf Conservation Center, the El Paso Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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