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New reproductive technology being used to save the Mexican Gray Wolf species

EUREKA, MO (KTVI) - The world's first Mexican Wolf pup that was recently born from artificially inseminated frozen embryo here in St. Louis.

It happened at the Endangered Wolf Center with help from the St. Louis Zoo.

Regina Mossotti is taking us where few humans have ever been in Eureka, Missouri.

A wolf howl in the near distance lets us know, we`re in their den at the Endangered Wolf Center.

And they`re protective of this 3-week-old Mexican Wolf pup.

Regina Mossotti is the Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center.  She said the procedure was a first at the center, “That`s the first time in history this has ever been done.  The Endangered Wolf Center has been working with the St. Louis Zoo and the Fish and Wildlife Service for over 20 years to collect semen in the hopes that this would be able to happen someday.  And the technology has finally caught up and we were successful and able to have a pup.”

There`s a wolf weigh-in, a checkup from the vet, a couple quick photos and we`re back on our way out of the enclosure.

He`s healthy and strong, his heartbeat sounds good.

And that`s great news, as this male pup is the first of his kind.

The unnamed Mexican Gray Wolf was created through artificial insemination using genetic samples from wolves that walked around 20 years ago.

“Just like you would a dog puppy at home we give him a de-wormer and weigh him and make sure they`re growing at the right pace and he was big, strong and healthy.”

An artificial insemination birth, the 3-week-old pup weighs 4.7 pounds, the vet Rhiannon McKnight declared him free of ticks and fleas.

“Wolves in general are a true part of the environment and necessary to maintaining a normal ecosystem.  They`re not to be feared.  They`re to be revered.”

You can credit the late Marlin Perkins and his wife Carol who started the Endangered Wolf Center in 1971, with helping to save the species from extinction.

There`s only about 130 left in the wild and most of those are found in the United States in Arizona and New Mexico.  While a managed care program at the Endangered Wolf Center, there`s only about 220 in managed care.  So, all together it`s a tiny population.

With one new member of the family, thanks to science and conservation.

And just maybe, this little pup can help save the Mexican Wolf species.