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Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center rescues native wild animals that have lost their homes to development, or are found injured, orphaned, or abandoned. When possible, the animals are rehabilitated and released, healthy and wild, back to where they belong. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is probably most known for their efforts on behalf of the endangered Mexican Gray Wolf, and their work with American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Species Survival Plan. After a 20-year absence in the wild, the Mexican gray wolf is being reintroduced to its former range following a successful captive breeding program. Mexican wolves are the smallest subspecies of the North American gray wolf and once roamed over a large part of Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Texas, and Mexico. They were intensively hunted in the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s to eliminate “threats to livestock, ” driving them to the brink of extinction. Mexican gray wolves were declared endangered in 1976. Five wolves were captured in Mexico between 1977 and 1980. These were the last Mexican wolves. Bred with captive Mexican wolves at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the St Louis Zoo, the first pups were born in 1978. The first 11 captive-bred wolves were released in April of 1998 in the Apache National Forest in Southeastern Arizona. Wolves have a complex social structure. They live in packs, which usually consist of a breeding (alpha pair), their current pups, a few yearlings and other young wolves, and occasionally some adult subordinate wolves (brothers and sisters of the alpha pair.) Removal of a top predator like the wolf has a domino effect on the entire ecosystem. Without a predator to cull plant eaters, vegetation is depleted and animals starve. Some plant populations die out, while less edible plants take over. Birds and insects, dependent on certain plants, are also affected. SWCC is also home to coati, coyote, deer, javelina, porcupine and raccoon. It is the only sanctuary in Arizona capable of caring for large mammals, including black bears, mountain lions and even a jaguar. Knowledgeable staff members will guide us through the sanctuary, for their remarkable Walk with Wildlife tour. We’ll also enjoy a delicious brown bag lunch before the tour, included. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore an exciting program right here in Scottsdale, and we hope that you will come with us!

Depart: Mesa 9:30 a.m. Phx 10a.m. NW 10:30 a.m. R: 5 p.m.


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