Although the parents of these two Mexican gray wolf pups fell victim to a past policy that locked down (or worse) wolves suspected of three attacks on livestock, F1046 and M863 are still helping to keep the flame burning for endangered lobos.
The couple had four pups in late spring at a special captive-breeding facility in California, the California Wolf Center announced. The center is home to some 17 Mexican gray wolves, and pups born there may one day go on to lead a life in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico.
Special breeding facilities, like the California Wolf Center, have been instrumental in saving lobos from extinction. From 1977 to 1980, five Mexican wolves — only one female — were captured in Mexico and brought to these centers, where biologists began the delicate task of mating them to avoid severe inbreeding and to strengthen their genetic diversity.
Thanks to the success of this effort, some 50 Mexican wolves now roam the wild — all of them either born in captivity or descended from captive-bred wolves.
Aside from checkups with a veterinarian, the pups will have little contact with people so that they hold on to an instinctual fear of humans — a trait that will help them avoid conflicts if they are released into the wild.
But you can catch a rare glimpse of these adorable animals in the above video, courtesy of the California Wolf Center.