Fifteen years ago, in the wake of a blizzard, the first group of eleven captive-bred Mexican gray wolves were released in Arizona’s Apache National Forest. Today, the recovery program’s population has grown to 75, but advocates say much higher numbers are needed to ensure the long-term survival of the “lobo.”
Eva Sargent with Defenders of Wildlife says the wolves are facing a “genetic crisis” because there are only three breeding pairs. She says genetic diversity helps wolves adapt to changes in climate or food supply.
Defenders of Wildlife are calling for an emergency rescue plan for the endangered animals, starting with expanding the gene pool by releasing more of the 300 Mexican wolves currently being held in zoos and breeding centers.