EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo’s male wolf, Zephyr, and female wolves Ivy and Ash are now together as one pack! This wolves are now sharing two exhibit spaces at the Zoo.
Improvements to the shared exhibit include a fallen log and railroad trestle run, and opening at the bottom of the arroyo in the exhibit. These improvements, which were constructed by Zoo staff, allow the wolves to freely run through the two spaces together as a pack.
A planned introduction process allowed Zephyr, who came to the El Paso Zoo in March, to join Ash and Ivy’s pack slowly. Zephyr was slowly be introduced to the females, first by smell, then sound then sight. He first me the female wolves through a mesh partition so he could see them and have protected interaction with them. After behavioral observations, research and creating specialized plans for the individual animals, the wolves are now together.
This is National Wolf Awareness week, which highlights the vital role wolves play in our native ecosystems.
The Mexican gray wolf was one of the first animals on exhibit when the Zoo was founded in 1910. Mexican wolves hold a special place in the hearts of staff because they are native to the Chihuahuan desert. El Paso Zoo conservation efforts include putting boots on the ground in the Gila Wilderness repairing fence line to directly mitigate livestock and human conflicts, in addition to helping fund and support wolf recovery programs. When you come visit the new wolf pack at the Zoo, you directly contribute to conservation efforts.
Though the Zoo will not breed Zephyr, Ash and Ivy, the Zoo remains an important holding facility for non-breeding wolves. The Zoo has contributed to reproductive research, including semen collection and egg vitrification, which prove promising for the future Mexican grey wolf population.
“It is hoped the new, pending recovery plan that is due to be completed by November of 2107 will be able to more firmly establish the recovery of the Mexican wolf in the wild and help enhance the genetic diversity of the wolves in those packs,” said Animal Curator John Kiseda.
The Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo,” is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in zoos. Because of populations in zoos, Mexican grey wolves were reintroduced into the wild on March 29, 1998 after being extinct for more than 30 years.