The Living Desert has welcomed a 5-year-old Mexican Wolf named ‘Desi’ to its family. Zookeepers said Mexican wolves are the most endangered wolf and smallest of the gray wolf subspecies.
Desi was born in 2009 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pre-release facility in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico. This facility prepares and evaluates wolves that may be released to the wild to support a reintroduction effort in Arizona and New Mexico. Desi didn’t make the cut, according to The Living Desert’s release. After living at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri, she has moved to her new home at The Living Desert.
Except for two reintroduction projects in the U.S and Mexico, the Mexican wolf is extinct in the wild. The Living Desert leads the Association of Zoo’s and Aquarium’s (AZA) Mexican Wolf Species Survival Program (SSP) that manages the captive population of Mexican wolves. Officials said this captive population is the sole source of release candidates for the two reintroduction projects to the wild. In 2014, the 19 packs of wolves in the two reintroduction projects produced over 45 pups.
“Bringing Desi to our Zoo is a just another way The Living Desert preserves and protects endangered species,” said Peter Siminski, Director of Conservation. “We are proud to be a leader in the AZA’s Mexican wolf SSP, successfully providing the Mexican wolves for the reintroduction projects in the wild.”
Desi recently joined 11-year-old Louis in the North American section of the zoo. Zookeepers said an average female Mexican wolf weighs 55 lbs. and a male weighs 65 lbs. They live in a pack, which hunts prey such as white-tailed deer, and they cooperate in raising their young.
The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission ranges from $8.75-$17.25. More information about The Living Desert