UTICA — The Utica Zoo Tuesday officially announced the arrival of four new male Mexican Gray Wolves from California.
The new wolves have joined our lone female wolf, Sierra, a long-time resident of the Zoo. Last year, the zoo lost Aztec, Sierra’s sister, to an aggressive form of cancer.
“Even though it sometimes happens in the wild, ideally we do not want our animals – especially a species like Mexican wolves – to live without companionship,” says Pearl Yusuf, director of Animal Operations. “After Aztec passed, we were in touch with the right people to improve Sierra’s social quality of life.”
The new males – all 2-year-old siblings – came from the California Wolf Center outside of San Diego. The facility is dedicated to the care and conservation of Mexican Gray and Rocky Mountain Gray wolves. It has cared for and bred wolves as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Mexican Wolf Recovery program.
All Mexican Gray Wolves are owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. The two organizations oversee the care and housing of each Mexican Gray Wolf on an individual basis. Utica Zoo was in immediate contact with both organizations after the passing of Aztec to determine the best course of action for Sierra.
Fortunately, the Zoo was able to work closely with the USFWS and AZA to determine the best course of action was to bring in new companions for Sierra, rather than move her to a new facility.