Endangered wolf recaptured after escaping habitat at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


A wolf briefly escaped its habitat at an Ohio zoo but was recaptured, and no guests or employees were hurt, authorities said. Officials at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo said the Mexican gray wolf “briefly breached its habitat” Sunday at the zoo but was secured by staff.

Jacqueline Gerling, director of communications at Cleveland Metroparks, said the incident is under investigation. She said officials are still gathering details on how the animal was able to escape and said more information would be released later.

There are a total of six Mexican gray wolves — Catori, Sarita, Una, Aprecia, Nancita and Mitzi– at the zoo and they are all sisters, CBS affiliate WOIO-TV reports. They came to Cleveland from the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Missouri in 2009.

The zoo’s website says the Mexican wolf, Canis Lupus Bailey, is the smallest and rarest of the gray wolf subspecies, 54 to 66 inches in length from snout to tail and weighing 50 to 90 pounds. Their coat is a varied mixture of tan, red, white, and black fur, with darker colors on their head, shoulders and back.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Mexican wolf “was all but eliminated from the wild by the 1970s due to conflicts with livestock” and has been listed as endangered since 1976.

In 1998, the service released the first captive Mexican wolves into the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area in Arizona and New Mexico and “the resounding howl of the endangered Mexican wolf could once again be heard in the mountains of the Southwest.”

Endangered Wolves
This Dec. 7, 2011, file photo, shows an endangered Mexican wolf at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico. 

Susan Montoya Bryan / AP