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Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Managed Care


  • Up to 17 years (Mech and Boitani 2003)


  • Reproduce earlier in managed care settings than in the wild (Medjo and Mech 1976; Seal et al. 1979; Zimen 1976)
    • 10 months of age observed

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

  • Mexican wolf (C. l. baileyi)
    • Extinct sub-species in the wild, except for reintroduced populations in Arizona and New Mexico, U.S.A. and in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico (Siminski 2012)
    • 311 individuals (149 males; 162 females) in zoos internationally, as of July 2013 (Siminski 2013)
      • Participants descended from 7 founders (Siminski and Spevak 2013)
      • AZA facilities provide care and breeding expertise to maintain a genetically diverse managed care population; vital for reintroduction efforts (read about the reintroduction program under Population & Conservation Status)
    • Species Survival Plan (SSP) designates target population size of 300 reproductive adults (Siminski and Spevak 2013)
      • Frozen gamete banks established in the 1990s in the U.S. and Mexico; under supervision of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and SEMARNAT (in Mexico)
        • Preserve male genes for use in artificial insemination or other assisted reproductive procedures
      • Goals:
        • Maintain genetic diversity (above 90% of that in the founding population)
        • Identify individuals suitable for release programs
  • Canid care manual; details protocols for habitat design, transport, medical care and nutrition, maintenance of social environment, as well as reproductive and behavior management (AZA Canid TAG 2012)
    • Created to ensure canid physical and mental welfare of wolves at AZA-accredited institutions

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

  • Animal ambassadors
    • Click here for a summary of basic information on wolves
  • White arctic wolf brothers 'Kenai' and 'Keeli' act as wolf ambassadors at the San Diego Zoo
  • Display rotates with other animal ambassadors; located in the Urban Jungle exhibit
  • Gray wolf pup 'Shadow' is ambassador in training

Animal Ambassador

"Shadow," a male gray wolf, is an animal ambassador for the San Diego Zoo.

Here is some footage of him as a pup in the Children's Zoo animal nursery (2014).

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

AZA Canid TAG (2012)
Mech and Boitani (2003)
Medjo and Mech (1976)
Seal et al. (1979)
Siminski (2012, 2013)
Siminski and Spevak (2013)
Zimen (1976)

SDZWA Library Links