SHORT GUARDIAN M1396 UPDATE


Just got off the phone with Kelley Snodgrass (Chief Operating Officer) at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center! He assured me that Guardian M1396 has acclimated very well to his "new" home, and apparently he has been used to "breed" with an older female wolf, but with difficulties not specified (I will find out).

Mr. Snodgrass has informed me that they continue to work extensively for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program, and encourages advocates to reach out to the Mexican gray wolf recovery program for support! It was a very short conversation but, he also said I may keep in touch with them to "keep tabs" on Guardian!

So, this makes 3 separate confirmations of his relocation as well as his current status – however, I still have yet to get a FULL explanation, which I will continue to work on!

Douglas Lopes

I researched Fossil Rim and found the following:
Fossil Rim gives Mexican gray wolves chance to grow

By RICHARD L. SMITH – Waco Tribune-Herald

Esteban and Elsa are Mexican gray wolves of which there are only about 200
in the world. The pair added three to the total when two females and a male
were born last May at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose. Officials
of the conservation and education center are hoping future pups may some day
be released into the wild. Such hopes don’t come easily.

Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered subspecies of the gray wolf in
North America. Aggressive predator control programs almost eliminated the
Mexican wolf, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wolf was
listed by the government as endangered. It has not been seen in the wild in
Mexico since 1980.

A captive breeding program that began in 1980 saved the Mexican wolf from
extinction. That program is a cooperative effort through the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, the wildlife agencies of New Mexico and Arizona, the
Mexican government and about 40 zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

The first 11 Mexican wolves were introduced in 1998. Vicki Fox, a
spokeswoman for the fish and wildlife service, said there are 19 wolves, or
four packs, in the wild today. The goal of the program is to release 100
wolves into the wild within the next several years and to maintain that
population.

The births last year and the observation of the young pups with their
parents are thrilling to those involved with the managed propagation program
at Fossil Rim.

"This is one of those rare opportunities to help participate in bringing
back an animal back that was close to extinction," said Kelly Snodgrass,
Fossil Rim animal care coordinator.

The 1,500-acre center, which offers guided and self-guided tours, is an
open-air zoological park that is involved in programs to breed several other
endangered species such as the red wolf and the Attwater’s prairie chicken.

However, there is a special fondness here for the Mexican wolves because the
arrival of pups has been a long time in coming. Also, the Mexican wolves
that are released have only one area to roam, which is in two national
forests on the Arizona-New Mexico border.

"The red wolf program has six release sites," said Mary Jo Stearns, Fossil
Rim animal care specialist. "The Mexican wolf (program) hasn’t been that
way. We’re a little attached to these guys."

Letting nature take its course doesn’t mean a population explosion will
occur when it comes to the wolves.

"If you have a male and female, it doesn’t mean they’re going to breed,"
said Snodgrass, adding that the wolves have to bond as a pair.

Once they do breed and pups are born, care is then taken that the parents
are given the space to become accustomed to their progeny.

"Wolves are weird in that they don’t do well with a lot of stuff around them
after babies are born," Stearns said. "We have a way of dealing with it that
may not be popular. We don’t bother them. It’s a hands-off approach —
particularly for a first-time mother."

Stearns said that such an approach is hard because it means giving up the
control that might ensure the pups will be all right.

The wolves can be seen by the public on special behind-the-scenes tours at
the center. However, they are off-limits to the public during breeding and
pupping.

Keeping the public at bay is also good in that it helps the animals from
becoming too familiar with humans, Stearns said.

Releasing Mexican wolves into the wild is also not a simple task. Stearns
said this litter will be held and, hopefully, they will learn from their
parents how to be parents themselves for subsequent litters.

Once a wolf is selected for release it is sent to several special
facilities, paired with genetically compatible mates and isolated from
humans to foster wild behavior. Prior to release, they are moved to
acclimation pens to become familiar with their surroundings.

Two groups of Mexican wolves from CNN founder Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in
southern New Mexico are scheduled to be moved to acclimation pens in the
Apache National Forest in Arizona this week, the fish and wildlife service
said.

Released wolves are not always welcomed.

The fish and wildlife service has been sued by farm and ranch groups in the
West over the release of Mexican wolves. Fox said some of the wolves
initially released were shot.

The government does not compensate ranchers for livestock losses, but a
private organization does.

Defenders of Wildlife announced this week it paid ranchers more than $35,000
in 1999 for wolf incidents, including $2,152 being paid in Arizona for
predation by released Mexican wolves.

The organization said it was encouraging that some ranchers were returning
compensation checks, citing support for wildlife recovery efforts.

Esteban, Elsa and the three unnamed pups, who are now almost as large as
their mother, live in about a two-acre compound where they are fed a diet of
dog food and meat.

Stearns said they occasionally are treated to roadkill deer when local law
enforcement officers find one.

The pack’s lodging is in small, hay-filled houses behind a dirt mound.

Heidi Bucher, a Fossil Rim animal care intern from Green Bay, Wis., feeds
the animals daily and gets to observe the social interaction between the
five animals.

"The father seems to be the protector. The pups are very submissive when the
parents approach," she said.

With visitors inside the compound, the parents run nervously in the
forefront while the pups zip away out of sight.

Bucher said the wolves are basically timid animals, albeit wild ones.

"I never turn my back on them," she said.

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