The pups recently came out from their underground den for the first time, a moment that was captured on video and shared on the BioPark’s YouTube channel
By Eric Todisco
Introducing proud parents Kawi and Ryder!
The pair of Mexican gray wolves — an endangered species — welcomed a litter of seven pups back in May at Albuquerque BioPark in New Mexico, according to the park’s press release.
The pups recently emerged from their underground den for the first time, a moment that was captured on video and shared on the BioPark’s YouTube channel.
Officials have yet to schedule the pups’ first exam, where their sexes will be determined for the first time.
The new litter joins mom Kawi, dad Ryder, and older brother Archer, who was born last May along with two other baby wolves that did not survive. BioPark said that the mortality rate is high for pups born to first-time mothers, like Kawi when she had Archer and his late siblings, with 30% of Mexican wolf pups passing away before their first birthday.
Zoo manager Lynn Tupa said that while second litters tend to be larger, BioPark staffers were still surprised that Kawi’s second litter was seven pups.
“The ABQ BioPark has played an important role in Mexican wolf recovery over the years and we’re proud to contribute to the survival of this critically endangered subspecies,” said Tupa. “Every new Lobo that we welcome boosts overall survival of wolves in the wild.”
ABQ BioPark is currently a part of a nationwide-breeding program that supports the recovery of the endangered predators in the Southwest U.S. The goal of the program is to make the most genetically diverse matches to improve the overall health of the Mexican wolf population.
Since 1983, the ABQ BioPark has welcomed 79 Mexican wolf pups.
According to the Biopark, a recent survey shows there are at least 163 wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, nearly a 25% increase from those counted at the end of 2018.