Sunday, May 1, 2016

Milestone for Critically Endangered Red Wolf

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Red Wolf F1397 Turns 11 Years Old!

The Wolf Conservation Center currently houses two groups of red wolves - the multi-generational family of nine made popular by the WCC webcams lives in one enclosure and the original matriarch of that family, Grandma F1397 (affectionately nicknamed “Witchhazel”), lives in the other with her companion of two years, red wolf M1566 (a.k.a. “Colt” or “Smokey”).

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 wolves make a great match off paper as well. This is not always the case; arranged romance can go terribly wrong.

About a month after F1397 joined the WCC family in 2009 she was introduced to her first mate, M1483. The two made a lovely pair and became parents the following spring with the birth of their two sons, M1803 and M1804. F1397 developed into a strong and serious matriarch keeping everyone in line. Sadly, M1483 died tragically in October of 2012, leaving F1397 to raise her young children singlehandedly.



In 2013, a new chapter opened for F1397 and the boys. M1804 was released to the wild - he still resides on an island off Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. M1803 was paired with F1563 and became a father in 2014 and repeated the feat the following year. And F1397 was paired with a new companion, M1565, who she took an immediate disliking to. It was the first time WCC staff had witnessed such a poor match - the poor fella never had a chance! But the following year F1397 met F1566, the brother of M1565, and she gives her newest beau two paws up! The scrappy, tough, and elusive beauties are a perfect match, both with personalities much larger than their frames.

So join us in sending congratulatory howls to Witchhazel for finding her soul mate. And who knows… perhaps she’ll celebrate her 11th birthday with a new litter of scrappy, tough, and elusive pups!

Happy birthday, F1397!

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