For the first time ever, six young Mexican wolves are now on the prowl at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The 3-year-old sisters are actively exploring their new surroundings and interacting well with one another, having arrived at the Zoo earlier this month from the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center near St. Louis. The pack-mates -- named "Catori," "Sarita," "Una," "Aprecia," "Nancita" and "Mitzi" -- are now on exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Zoo's Wolf Wilderness.
It's the first time the Zoo has ever displayed Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) -- the rarest and most genetically distinct of all the gray wolves in North America.
"This is a very dynamic pack of wolves," said Alan Sironen, the Zoo's Curator of Carnivores and Large Mammals. "Because they're young, these wolves are more active and more curious. It's going to be exciting for people to watch them mature."
Mexican wolves, also known as "lobo," are the smallest of all wolf species. (The Zoo's wolves weigh between 56 and 64 pounds each.) Mexican wolves are carnivores that hunt in packs, and their distinct howls can be heard from miles away.
Once plentiful in what is now the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, Mexican wolves were nearly wiped out by the 1970s due to a government-supported predator-control program.
Mexican wolves are the most endangered of all North American wolves. In an effort to save them, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service launched a captive-breeding program that led to the successful reintroduction of Mexican wolves to their native habitats in 1998. Today, that breeding program is managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, which continues to provide wolves for potential reintroduction.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Discounted winter admission through March 31 is $7 per person, $5 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480.
To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.
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