The zoo is making strides in helping restore the numbers of the endangered Mexican gray wolf in zoos as well as their native habitats.
Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Mexican gray wolf exhibit is once again featuring a pack after welcoming 3 new male wolves derived from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri. The latest additions to join 6-year old female Mexican gray wolf Magdalena include a father named Mollete and his 2 sons Stratus and Garza.
According to an organizational release, the Lehigh Valley Zoo collaborated with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) under its Species Survival Program (SSP) throughout the last few months to find the ideal Mexican gray wolf pack members to complement Magdalena. The Mexican Gray Wolf SSP works in tandem with the US Fish & Wildlife Service for the conservation of this species, making the Lehigh Valley Zoo a key partner in providing space for Mexican gray wolves to help grow their numbers in both zoos and their native habitats.
When the 3 new wolves first arrived, an introduction process between the pack members was safely conducted behind the scenes to acclimate the wolves to one another. Now, after passing the introduction process, the wolves can go on exhibit and explore their new habitat. At this time, the zoo is requesting that all guests stay quiet when nearing the exhibit as pack members adjust. Staying silent also helps increase the chance of seeing the wolves as well.
Though this process took an extensive amount of time to complete, it helped ensure Magdalena was partnered with the best pack-mates genetically and personality-wise. In the future, the zoo will continue to work with the SSP to be considered a breeding site.
Lehigh Valley Zoo is 1 of nearly 50 zoos and conservation centers striving to rehabilitate Mexican gray wolves, according to the release. This subspecies was almost brought to extinction due to widespread trapping and poisoning in the early 1900s. After reintroducing Mexican gray wolves, there are more than 113 in the wild and approximately 300 in the captive breeding program.
Additionally, the public can play a role in saving species like these by supporting AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo or buy tickets to see the wolf exhibit, go here.
Lehigh Valley Zoo's wolf pack is back! News release. September 16, 2021; Lehigh Valley Zoo. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.lvzoo.org/news/lehigh-valley-zoos-wolf-pack-is-back/