A Mexican gray wolf who has lived at Brookfield Zoo since 2010 will leave this week to prepare to enter the wild, joining 58 of the endangered animals roaming free in New Mexico and Arizona.

On Saturday, Ernesta will be taken to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wolf Management Facility at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, NM, according to the Chicago Zoological Society. The goal is to bolster the population of a species once on the verge of extinction.

She will then choose a mate and the pair will receive survival skills conditioning — a sort of pre-release boot camp — to prepare them for life in the wild, according to a release from CZS.

The boot camp is to assure the wolves are good candidates for release. Biologists will observe Ernesta and her mate as they slowly transition to feedings that mimic wild wolf food patterns, such as eating native prey (road-kill deer and elk); and experience the natural condition of feeding only every several days, the release said.

They will also go through a process of taste aversion to beef so they will avoid cattle ranches once released.

Natural wolf behaviors have been encouraged since Ernesta first arrived at Brookfield Zoo, the release said. This includes keepers not interacting with wolves; and feeding them native prey such as elk and bison.

Ernesta, a Mexican gray wolf who will be leaving Brookfield Zoo on Oct. 27, to be released into the wild. Photo/Brookfield Zoo.

Responses to "Endangered wolf leaving Brookfield Zoo to enter the wild (Photos) "

  1. Ruth says:

    What a beautiful animal. May she be happy, safe and enjoy her freedom.

  2. Anonymous says:

    a gallant effort but perhaps a futile one. Unless I'm mistaking N M is one of the states that is allowing wolf hunting and trapping and regardless wolves don't know about borders. It is amazing to me that groups of bioligists and naturalists are diong everything in their power, investing huge amounts of time and probobly money to ensure the wellbeing of wolf packs, only to have ignoarant politicians ( Salizar) trying to wipe them out. I't like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. I live in Canada and we are no better, the wolves in Alberta are being persacuted because of oil. Politicians are still suffering from "little red riding hood " syndrome and they need to put away their fairey tale books and listen to scientists not special interest groups. The same thing is happening to wild horses on both sides of the border, if we dont speak up it will be to late. I encourage you to your politicians know how you feel, that this disgusting behavior is unacceptable. Thank you for listening Steve Harding B C Canada

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the above contributor,the poor animal may possibly be hunted and shot once it is released into the wild.I suggest educating the humans to leave wild life alone.America is vast surely there is enough room for wild life to live unmolested.The wolves are beautiful animals and were there fist.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I so hope that she will continue to live a free live. The fate of the wolves is in the hands of humanity. I agree that people need to educated about wolves, and not be turned against them by means of fear mongering. As the previous contributor said: "The wolves are beautiful animals and were there fist". They should not be denied their right to life!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I so agree with you Steve Harding. It doesn't matter how much effort us activists are putting into fighting for wellbeing and safety of Wolves (and other animals), politicians just carry on as they want to feed their greed. If we don't speak up now, it will be too late. Not many of these Wolves left, they are already endangered, and the situation is critical. I would like to urge alongside you that people speak up and let their governments know how they feel. Did you know that there is a page on facebook that propagates the butchering and cooking, thus eating, of Wolves? I just signed a petition against it tonight. I think it is disgusted, to say the very least. These animals need our help, and not when but now! Thank you for listening to me as well. Antoinette Keyser, South Africa

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