Mexican gray wolves sent from Arizona to El Paso Zoo to aid species

PHOENIX — One pack of endangered Mexican gray wolves has become two.

Two wolves and three of their pups were sent from the Phoenix Zoo to the El Paso Zoo in Texas last month in a bid to bolster the number of predators. Three other pups, all female, stayed in Phoenix, adjusting to an emptier den and establishing a new hierarchy, The Arizona Republic reported.

“They were a little skittish for the first day or two, but they’ve settled in really well. Jade is emerging as the alpha female, followed by Luna, then Scarlet,” said Dawn Addelson, a carnivore keeper at the Phoenix Zoo.

The Phoenix Zoo doesn’t have a breeding pair anymore, but it plans to change the enclosure to make it appealing to a breeding female wolf, Addelson said.

The other wolves were transferred under a cooperative breeding program seeking to help the Mexican gray wolf survive.

Jade, a Mexican gray wolf, quickly assumed the role of alpha among her sisters after her parents and brothers were transferred from Phoenix to El Paso.

“We’ve enjoyed having them at the Phoenix Zoo these past few years, but they are needed elsewhere to contribute to making the most genetically diverse matches to help support the ongoing genetic health of wild wolves,” said Bert Castro, zoo president and CEO.

The five wolves transferred to Texas were placed in quarantine at the El Paso Zoo until the first week of February. Animal curator John Kiseda said he was hopeful they will have adjusted to their surroundings by the time the zoo reopens Wednesday, Feb. 10, following a pandemic closure.

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