Our unique Center – leading the pack
For more than four decades, our staff, volunteers and supporters have worked to create a Center recognized for not only our achievements, but our leadership role in the recovery of the endangered species in our care.
From a long list of “firsts” in our field to numerous success stories, our focus remains on the recovery of these top predators and the ecosystems depending on them.
• Is the only Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) certified related wolf facility in the world.
• Was the first institution to participate in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s red wolf and Mexican
gray wolf managed breeding programs.
• Has been the site of more Mexican gray wolves born in captivity than any other U.S. facility (over 45%).
• Helped recover the Mexican gray wolf population from 9 wolves to 235 in managed care and over 75 in the wild.
• In December 1993 was the first of two USFWS cooperators to exchange Mexican gray wolves with a Mexican
• Was the birth site of the first litter of maned wolves to be reared by both parents in almost a decade.
• Contributed one of the first red wolves to be reintroduced into the wild in North Carolina.
• Helped recover the red wolf population from 14 wolves to 160 in managed care and over 100 in the wild.
• Was one of first two U.S. facilities selected to breed swift foxes for release.
Our animals – the reason we, and you, are here
Introducing releasable wolves into their native habitats to help restore harmony to their ecosystems. Seeing a rare litter of swift fox kits born into our care. These rare and wonderful moments are the reason we’re here. And while the road ahead is still long, we are proud of the legacy that has brought us to this point.
Over the past four decades:
• More Mexican gray wolves selected for release in the southwestern United States have been born at our
Center than any other facility in the United States or Mexico.
• The Endangered Wolf Center has been the cornerstone of the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan since its inception. Today, every pack of Mexican gray wolves now roaming free in the Southwest can trace its lineage to the Endangered Wolf Center.
• More than 30 endangered red wolves have been born here.
• Over 70% of the red wolves now roaming free in North Carolina can trace their roots here.
• Our Center raised and released the first female red wolf to give birth in the wild.
• We also raised and released the first male Mexican wolf to sire wild-born pups in Arizona.
• Likewise, the first female Mexican gray wolf to give birth to wild-born pups in New Mexico began was raised
in and released by our Center.
Education and advancement – sharing our passion
Promoting education and understanding about wolves is a third pillar of our legacy. We appreciate our unique ability to observe and care for wolves, swift foxes and painted dogs firsthand, and are excited to share this with our professional peers as well as our guests.
Recognized for our leadership role in education, our Center:
• Hosts more than 60,000 visitors each year, nearly 75% being children.
• Sponsored the first meeting of wolf biologists in 1971.
• Hosted the first two International Symposium on Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in Washington D.C. in 1974 and St. Louis in 1977.
• Is a steering committee member of the red wolf, Mexican gray wolf, and maned wolf Species Survival Plan© of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
• Leads several Three-Year Action Plan projects for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Species Survival Plan©: semen collection, cryopreservation and assisted reproduction and husbandry training
• Forged partnerships with zoos, non-governmental organizations and government entities in Mexico and the United States to standardize husbandry on both sides of the border.
to enhance recovery for the Mexican gray wolf.
• Conducts nutritional research that benefits endangered canids (in partnership with Purina Mills, Inc.
developed Mazuri Exotic Canine Chow order used widely in the industry, and Mazuri Maned Wolf Diet.)
• Sponsors noninvasive behavioral research on wolves onsite and in their natural habitat, which has become an invaluable resource for high school, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as
professionals in our field.
• Maintains a library and comprehensive online resource for the use of a wide variety of people ranging from
elementary students to international scientists.