Meet Ash, Ivy and Zephyr, the Mexican grey wolves at the El Paso Zoo!
The El Paso Zoo is home to three Mexican grey wolves. The two female wolves, Ash and Ivy, were born in May 2002. Zephyr, the male wolf, was born in 2005.
DESCRIPTION: The modeled grey appearance of the Mexican Wolf is excellent as a camouflage in the forested areas. Mexican grey wolves have richly colored coats of buff, gray, rust, tan and black. These animals typically weigh between 60-90 pounds and are between 4 ½ and 5 ½ feet in total length. The Mexican Wolves have long legs and a sleek body, which enables them to run very fast.
DID YOU KNOW: The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo,” is the rarest, southernmost, and most genetically distinct subspecies of the North America gray wolf. Social and intelligent, wolves live in family groups called packs. The wolf parents are the dominant male and female leaders of the pack, called the alpha pair. Mexican wolves communicate through body postures, facial expressions, scent-marking and howling. Wolves rarely fight within their own packs. Instead, they cooperate, especially during a hunt.
STATUS IN THE WILD: Mexican Grey wolves are critically endangered in the wild. At of the end of 2015, the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team counted a minimum of 97 Mexican grey wolves in the wild of New Mexico and Arizona. This is a 12 percent decline from the 2014 count. Continued threats include competition with humans for livestock and game species, exaggerated concern by the public regarding the threat and danger of wolves, and fragmentation of habitat. The last known Mexican wolf in Texas was killed by a trapper in 1970.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION: The Mexican grey wolf’s historical range is the Southwest, including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico in forests, mountains and woodlands above 4,000 feet in elevation. Today, Mexican grey wolves live in a 7,000-square-mile Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which includes parts of the Apache National Forest in Arizona and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
DIET: Mexican wolves primarily prey elk and other hoofed animals, including white-tailed deer and mule. However, they are also known to eat smaller mammals such as rabbits, ground squirrels and mice. Mexican grey wolves usually feed only a couple times a week, eating up to 20 pounds of meat at a time.
CONSERVATION CONNECTIONS: International wolf experts rate recovery of the Mexican wolf as the highest priority of gray wolf recovery programs in the world. The Zoo's General Curator contributes to this effort by serving as one of the program leaders for the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan. The El Paso Zoo participates in reproductive research, such as semen collection and egg vitrification, which could be very promising for the future of the Mexican grey wolf population.
WOLF QUICK FACTS:
• Mexican grey wolves usually travel in packs and establish territories with scent markings and such vocalizations as growls, barks and their legendary howl.
• Mexican grey wolves are the smallest subspecies of grey wolf.
• The Mexican grey wolf is the most endangered wolf in the world.
• Mexican grey wolves were extinct in the wild by the 1970s. Thanks to zoos and other facilities where small groups of Mexican wolves lived, reintroduction in the wild was possible.