This is the second year red wolf M1566 (affectionately nicknamed “Colt” and “Smokey”) has celebrated a birthday at the Wolf Conservation Center, he’s a relatively new member of the WCC family arriving in December of 2014. He resides on exhibit with his companion of two years, red wolf F1397 (a.k.a. “Witchhazel”).
The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all red wolves descended from just 14 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of red wolf breeding pairs and F1397 and M1566 are a great match on paper.
Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out that the duo make a great match off paper as well. The scrappy, tough, and elusive beauties are a perfect match, both with personalities much larger than their frames. They proved their compatibility last month when a global audience of webcam watchers caught the couple engage in a copulatory tie! The gestation period (length of pregnancy) for wolves is 63 days so we won’t know the outcome of their union until May.
So join us in sending congratulatory howls to M1566 for finding his soul mate. And who knows… perhaps he’ll celebrate his 9th birthday with a new litter of scrappy, tough, and elusive pups!
Happy birthday, M1566!