Utica Zoo's Mexican Wolves Contribute to Vital Conservation Efforts

Earlier this year, the Utica Zoo continued its participation in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, a critical bi-national initiative led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As part of this program, the Utica Zoo’s Mexican Wolves underwent a semen extraction procedure, marking the second time these animals have contributed to this vital conservation effort.

Mexican Wolves, one of the most endangered species of wolves, face a precarious existence, with less than 300 estimated to remain in the wild. With only 356 individuals housed within 60 zoos across the United States, every Mexican wolf plays a pivotal role in the preservation of its species.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utica Zoo houses and cares for Mexican Wolves as part of the recovery program. It’s worth noting that every Mexican wolf in the wild today is a descendant of captive-bred ancestors. The program, which began with just seven original wolves, underscores the importance of captive breeding efforts in ensuring the survival of this iconic species.

In 1991, the St. Louis Zoo was tasked with establishing and maintaining a frozen semen bank under the auspices of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program and the AZA Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP). This frozen gene bank serves as a crucial resource for the genetic management of Mexican wolves, which faced extinction in the wild before successful captive breeding efforts led to their reintroduction in New Mexico and Arizona.

“The participation of our Mexican wolves in such procedures exemplifies our commitment to species conservation and underscores the critical role that accredited zoos play in preserving endangered wildlife,” said Andria Heath, Executive Director of the Utica Zoo. “Through collaborative efforts with organizations like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we are working tirelessly to ensure a future for Mexican wolves and other imperiled species.”

The Utica Zoo remains dedicated to its mission of conservation, education, and animal well-being, striving to inspire and empower visitors to become stewards of the natural world.

The Utica Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is a regional destination that inspires and promotes the appreciation of wildlife through education, conservation, and recreation. Situated in the heart of Central New York, the zoo features a diverse collection of animals from around the world and offers various educational programs and events for visitors of all ages. It is home to approximately 200 exotic and domestic animals, welcoming nearly 100,000 visitors annually and is open daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm. For more information on this, and all things Utica Zoo, visit UticaZoo.org or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!