Monday, 10 July 2017

Birth of wolf cubs in Mexico raises hopes for endangered species




July 8, 2017


Mexican zoo officials are drooling over the birth of seven cubs of a species of endangered wolf. 

They were born in April to a female named Pearl, who was nice and plump and ended up delighting vets with a surprisingly large litter.

"We were expecting four or five," Arturo Gayosso, director of the Zoologico los Coyotes in Mexico City, told AFP this week.

These are known as Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi), a small, rare and genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf.

Their realm used to be the southwestern US and central and northern Mexico.

But the wolves' numbers started to dwindle at the start of the 20th century as populations of their native prey, such as deer and elk, declined and the canines turned to cattle for food and ranchers began to kill them off, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Since roughly the mid-1900s, Mexican wolves have been listed an endangered species in both countries.

The hope is that these seven babies—five males and two females—will be healthy enough to eventually be released into the wild to help create more wolves.

With coats that are a mix of yellow, gray and black, the cubs now weigh six to seven kilos (13 to 15.5 pounds) and have had contact with humans just once, when they were vaccinated.

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