Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Search Underway for Escaped Mexican Wolf near Divide, CO

November 21, 2018

Contact(s):

Rob Vernon, AZA, 301.244.3352, rvernon@aza.org
Aislinn Maestas, USFWS, 505.248-6599, aislinn_maestas@fws.gov


Mexican wolf.

Mexican wolf. Credit: California Wolf Center

DIVIDE, Colo. – On Sunday, November 11, 2018, a yearling Mexican wolf escaped an enclosure at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (CWWC). The CWWC is a member in good standing of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and became a member of the AZA’s Mexican wolf captive breeding program in 2008. In response, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the following statement:

Last week, a male wolf and two littermates were transported to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (CWWC) near Divide, CO. The wolves arrived on the morning of November 11, 2018, and were released into an enclosure. By that evening, staff at the facility noticed one of the wolves was missing. Upon learning of the wolf’s escape, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contacted USDA Wildlife Services, who sent a team to initiate trapping efforts. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services have been unable to recapture the wolf. Officials believe that the wolf remains in the general area, and are continuing to maintain traps in hopes of recapturing the wolf soon.

Mexican wolves are protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Harming or killing a Mexican wolf is illegal unless it is in defense of a person's life or the lives of others.

This young wolf was born in a facility in 2017, and is not considered a threat to human health or public safety. Subsequent to the reintroduction of Mexican wolves to the wild, wolf-human interactions have occurred but there have been no wolf attacks on humans.  However, like all wildlife, the animal may become defensive if cornered or threatened. Members of the public are encouraged to scare the animal if the wolf is seen at close proximity. The wolf is not externally marked (no radio collar, ear tag, etc.), but is distinguishable due to blindness in one eye (one eye almost completely black – see attached photo).

The Service will share more information when it is available. Members of the public are encouraged to call (866) 4USDA-WS (866-487-3297) or visit http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/Wolf-Sighting-Form.aspx if they see or hear signs of the missing wolf.

 

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work, visit www.fws.gov.

About the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is one of very few sanctuaries in the United States which has been certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). With this title we are able to go beyond education and into application. CWWC actively participates in the Species Survival Program by providing a home to Mexican Grey Wolves and Swift Foxes. CWCC is a member in good standing with the AZA, having last gone through a stringent certification process in 2007. For more information, visit http://www.wolfeducation.org/  


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.