Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Zoo Welcomes Wolves

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Zoo Welcomes Wolves

Article excerpt

Susan Lindsey wishes she lived closer to Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden now that it is home to a pair of endangered Mexican Gray Wolves because she wants to hear them howl at night. "I'm hoping the people who live nearby are going to enjoy that," she said. "It's pretty special."

Mesker received its first Mexican Gray Wolves, the most endangered wolf species in the world, Tuesday afternoon. The pair, a female and male, will serve as foster parents for pups whose parents are unable to raise them in the wild as an effort to continue conservation efforts of the species. The zoo eventually hopes to breed the animals who had pups in 2010 and 2011 and raised them in a large pack.

Lindsey, a Mesker animal curator and behavioral and husbandry adviser to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Service, is excited about the wolves and that the zoo is joining in the conservation efforts.

"This pair of experienced parents will make a significant contribution to the recovery efforts," she said.

The Mexican Gray Wolf population became endangered due to livestock practices and shooting. When rescued from the wild near Durango, Mexico, there were only five animals left. Today, fewer than 300 Mexican Gray Wolves are in captivity, and between 60 and 70 live in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

Mesker's new wolves arrived on a LightHawk flight at Tri-State Aero, Inc. in extra large plastic kennels, similar to what's seen at a pet store for dogs, but reinforced to accommodate the 90- pound male and the roughly 60-pound female. The two wolves dashed out of their carrying crates Tuesday and immediately began sniffing and exploring the zoo's recently renovated wolf exhibit, their new, almost one-acre, home.

LightHawk, a group of conservation-minded private pilots, provides donated international or U. …

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