The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed its newest member of the endangered Mexican wolf species on Friday morning. The pup was born around 5 a.m. to second-time parents Luna and Navarro.
Unsure of how many pups Luna was carrying, the Rocky Mountain Wild animal care team monitored the mother wolf for 24 hours until confirming that the newborn was an only child.
This is Luna’s second litter. The yet-unnamed pup will be joining a pack of three sisters and a brother.
“Wolf packs in the wild will stay together as new litters join the pack, so we don’t see any need to separate the older siblings from this new pup,” said Dina Bredahl, Rocky Mountain Wild animal manager. “It’s a win-win for all. The yearlings get to observe Luna with a young pup, which helps them gain experience they can use if they become parents later in life. The single pup benefits because it has a larger pack to learn from and bond with, instead of just its two parents.”
Zookeepers will not interfere with the newborn pup for another eight weeks. At that time, there will be more information about the pup’s gender and name.
The zoo has been attempting to breed the species for many years in an effort to boost the endangered species population. This pup could help accomplish that goal, said a zoo media release.
“It was really cool to see the 1-year-olds observing Luna’s behavior, probably noticing something was going on and wondering what was about to happen,” Bredahl said.
“Every individual pup makes an impact on the survival of the species, because the Mexican wolf population is so small. Even in human care, we rarely intervene with wolves, so we’re cautiously optimistic that this pup will grow into a healthy adult that can contribute to the long-term survival of Mexican wolves.”
eventually be released into the wild, helping to provide genetic diversity to the dwindling population.
To date, there are only 131 Mexican wolves in the wild and about 300 in human care, the zoo stated. Before the 1900s, the species thrived in central Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas but was virtually eradicated by the 1950s.
The zoo said it will share additional photos and video clips of Luna and her pup, as they become available, on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and The Waterhole, the zoo’s monthly e-newsletter.