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Since 2003, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, has been a partner in the multi-agency endeavor that aims to re-establish the Mexican wolf population in its native habitat in the southwestern United States and Mexico.
A total of five pups were born to Vivilette, a first-time mother, and her mate, nine-year-old Amigo, who arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 2020 and 2021, respectively, as part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, CZS said in a press release. Two of the pups were staying at the zoo, and three were going to join wild wolves in New Mexico, they said.
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“We are very excited to continue to be part of this program, which is making strides to repopulate an iconic species that was once extirpated in the wild,” said Joan Daniels, senior curator of mammals for CZS.
Mexican wolves are the rarest subspecies of grey wolves in North America and, by 1976, were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Like domestic dogs, wolf pups are born deaf and their eyes are closed. At about two weeks old their eyes open, and a week or so later, they begin to venture outside the den.
Within 14 days of whelping (being born), the captive-born pups get transported to the wild and mixed together with wild pups of a similar age, according to USFWS.