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WATCH: The Zoo's new Mexican wolves

Did you know that the Mexican wolves at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are managed differently than most of the other animals at the Zoo because they are owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)?

These wolves, like most Mexican wolves in zoos in North America, are candidates for reintroduction into the wild.

Wolves once ranged through all of North America, from the Arctic Circle to central Mexico. But a long history of habitat destruction and human conflict – mostly hunting and trapping for its fur – reduced the species significantly. During the early and mid-1900s, gray wolves were endangered in the United States, and wolves were all but gone by the 1970s. The Mexican wolf is the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America.

In 1977, the USFWS began efforts to save the species, and today the organization coordinates with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the captive wolf population through the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan. This program is an essential and successful component of Mexican wolf recovery.

“As reintroduction candidates we try to limit their associations with people, especially when offering food,” said Travis Vineyard, Curator of Animals at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

The wolves may receive less interaction with humans, but their habitat at Wilderness Trek provides them choice and complexity similar to what they would experience in the wild. Water features, other species of animals and hilly terrain allow the wolves natural enrichment and the opportunity to explore.

Mexican wolves at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Today, the wolves have full access to the habitat, holding building and off-exhibit yards. The new pack of three young males and one older female can be seen daily at Wolf Lodge.

Read more about the USFWS reintroduction program

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