Lobo Week 2021: Meet Our New Mexican Gray Wolfpack

March 28 - April 3, 2021, is Lobo Week! It's a week when zoos, wildlife organizations, individuals like you, and many others come together with a common goal: to raise awareness for the Mexican gray wolf! Throughout the week, #LoboWeek supporters will be sharing facts, history, and conservation stories across social media to support the ongoing efforts around Mexican gray wolves, an important and essential part of their ecosystem in Arizona and New Mexico. Given their critically endangered status, it's vitally important that we raise awareness about these wolves and support them.

In previous blog posts, we've talked about the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the work Brookfield Zoo does to help with cross-fostering in the hopes of returning more wolves to their natural habitat. The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, has been a partner in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program since 2003. We've seen lots of success in cross-fostering wolf pups over the years and we're excited about our newest wolf pack arrivals and the role they'll play in continuing to grow their species.

Zoo members and guests are probably familiar with Apache and Ela, the two wolves who arrived here in 2019, as well as female Pika who lived in the habitat next door. Along with the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, Brookfield Zoo also participates in the AZA Species Survival Plan for this endangered species. These are very active programs and new recommendations are made every year in support of the wild population and to pair up wolves for reproduction in zoos and other facilities. As part of the recommendations for this year, Brookfield Zoo was asked to bring in a new breeding pair so we can continue to participate in cross-fostering. To make room for the new group, Apache and Ela were transferred to Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and Pika was transferred to Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut.

We received a new breeding pair to live at Regenstein Wolf Woods. Originally, the new pack included Lazarus and Sibi, along with their yearling female offspring Vivilette (previously named Lorena) from the U.S. Forest & Wildlife Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico. Unfortunately, 12-year-old Lazarus passed away shortly after his arrival here when a veterinary evaluation and a CT scan confirmed age-related degenerative changes in his spine with the rupture of an intervertebral disc. Sibi and Vivilette have recently been joined by seven-year-old male Amigo, who arrived from Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana. Brookfield Zoo is excited and hopeful that Sibi will have a new litter soon.

You can meet our new wolfpack in this Bringing the Zoo to You chat. Please note that this chat involves a white-tailed deer carcass feeding, viewing discretion is advised.

Now let's get to know these wolves a little bit better.

Sibi (pronounced see-bee) was born at the San Cayetano preserve in Mexico in 2012. Her name means fire in a language native to parts of Mexico. When she arrived at the Endangered Wolf Center from Mexico, staff noticed she was limping. A veterinary exam with radiographs revealed foreign particles in her wrist and several areas of her body. The particles turned out to be buckshot, which could not be safely removed. It was apparent that Sibi had been previously shot before her arrival at EWC. It is upsetting to think of an endangered wolf being illegally shot inside what should have been a protected area, but this is the harsh reality of persecution wild wolves live with every day. Sibi’s injuries have healed with time, although, she occasionally limps on her front leg. Sibi is a true ambassador to the hardships of Mexican wolves in the wild. Her survival and perseverance as an attentive and caring mother are inspiring.

Vivilette was born in April 2019 to Lazarus and Sibi. As a puppy, she was found injured with an open fracture on her right front leg which could not be repaired with surgery. The cause of the injury is unknown, but young wolves often jump and play hard and front leg injuries are not uncommon for both wolves and dogs. Domestic dogs and wolves with missing front limbs learn to compensate and are able to adapt well to walking and running. Vivilette has fully recovered and is a healthy wolf. She will stay with Sibi to hopefully help raise the next litter. Yearling involvement in the care of litters has proven to have many benefits socially for the young pups and the pack.

Amigo was born at the New York Wolf Center in 2014. In the past, Amigo has sired offspring at the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri and successfully raised two litters. His last litter was part of the cross-fostering effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Program in 2018.


So how can you support the Mexican grey wolves and their recovery efforts? Your financial support is critical to not only helping the wolves here at Brookfield Zoo but also across the entire recovery program and even those in the wild. You can directly adopt the Mexican gray wolves here at Brookfield Zoo, which helps provide care and also includes plenty of great perks. We hope you can be part of those efforts.

Finally, keep an eye on Brookfield Zoo's social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube) as we'll be sharing lots of great photos, videos, and fun facts about Mexican gray wolves. Share them with friends and family and let's all do our part to spread the word about Mexican gray wolves so their population can continue to grow!

Don't miss the next blog post from the Chicago Zoological Society. Sign up for the Brookfield Zoo email newsletter and receive regular updates and special offers direct to your inbox.

Posted: 3/28/2021 9:42:09 PM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


Subscribe to our Blogs!