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Come meet the newest residents of San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, "Prince," "David Bowie" and "Jerry Garcia!" With rock star names, the Mexican gray wolves are sure to be show stoppers at Wolf Canyon, a functional and beautiful wolf habitat.
Wolf Canyon was carefully designed to enrich the animals with terrain they might encounter in their natural environment like dirt mounds, water features, trees and plants. It even has a heat rock where the wolves can warm up. The dynamic design offers plenty of opportunities for the wolves to make choices and get comfortable within their habitat. Great steps were also taken to enhance visitor experience, including viewing glass from the ground up and a covered inlet that provides 270 degree views within the canyon.
Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered wolf subspecies. In 1976 there were only five remaining individuals in the wild, but thanks to a concerted conservation effort, the population has grown to about two hundred in captivity and one hundred in the wild. SF Zoo’s wolf trio is part of a collaborative Species Survival Plan (SSP) between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Team and Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The goal of the SSP is to strategically grow the population and ultimately release viable candidates into the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area.
“Wolf Canyon isn’t just an exquisite exhibit, it’s an opportunity for San Francisco Zoo & Gardens to participate in the conservation of a species,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “Our Mexican gray wolves are breathtaking to observe and they will help educate visitors about the amazing work being done to protect their species from extinction.”
The SSP encourages limited human interaction so the wolves don't become accustomed to people. In the coming weeks, the exhibit will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology like automatic feeding devices, sensors to detect environmental conditions and CrowdOptic Eye cameras. These unique attributes will allow animal staff to provide the best care possible while minimizing human interaction.