The Life and Times of Mexican Gray Wolf ‘Trumpet’

Meet Trumpet, the adorable Mexican gray wolf pup that is one of the last of her kind.

Meet Trumpet, the adorable Mexican gray wolf pup that is one of the last of her kind. Rebecca Bose holds Trumpet in 2016, when the pup is only a week old.
Meet Trumpet, the adorable Mexican gray wolf pup that is one of the last of her kind. Rebecca Bose holds Trumpet in 2016, when the pup is only a week old. (Michael Rubenstein for Earthjustice)

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Born on May 4, 2016 to parents F1143 (Rosa) and M1059 (Diego), critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pup f1505—affectionately nicknamed “Trumpet” for her loud calls—is a beautiful blend of both her parents. F1505 and her family live at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York state, an education and breeding facility that focuses on helping wild wolf populations.

Thousands of Mexican gray wolves once roamed Mexico and the southwestern U.S., but ranchers and government agents nearly silenced this important predator with rifles, traps and poison. Mexican wolves were all but eliminated from the wild in the U.S. by the early 1970s, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Mexican gray wolf as endangered in 1976.

The most recent count, in February 2017, revealed that the sole wild Mexican gray wolf population has only 113 members, making the Mexican wolf one of the most endangered mammals in North America. The wolf continues to struggle because for decades the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has bowed to pressure from state agencies whose hunting constituents see the wolf as an unwelcome competitor. The good news is that a recent court settlement will require the service to create a long-delayed recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves this year. Trumpet and her parents will play a crucial role in helping their species rebound.

In a quiet, one-acre wooded enclosure at the conservation center in South Salem, New York, Trumpet and her parents lead a typical wolf family lifestyle. Unbeknownst to them, viewers from all over the world can get a glimpse of their elusive lives via the center’s web cams.

Lacking siblings to play and roughhouse with, Trumpet often turns to her parents for these much-needed interactions. At times, this can be daunting for her parents, but with patience and care they provide their pup with the mental stimulation she’s looking for.

Trumpet has proven to be a sassy youngster, often pushing her parents’ limits and looking to see how much she can get away with. Discipline, an essential part of growing up, is firmly enforced when needed—which can be quite often for Trumpet!

Much like human children, Trumpet eventually learns from her mistakes, shakes them off and goes on with her daily shenanigans.

The wolf family is fed a natural diet of white-tailed deer. This is not only a valuable source of protein and nutrients, but also a source of behavioral enrichment. Many critical social interactions occur over a carcass for both adults and pups. These interactions help shape young individuals as they prepare for adulthood, as well as reaffirm the wolves’ relative status within the pack.

Trumpet has no idea what she represents or how valuable she is. With so few Mexican gray wolves remaining in the wild, her genes are crucial for bolstering the population at large.

For now, she will remain with her parents and hopefully have the opportunity to become an older sister this spring. Passing on her knowledge and experience to younger siblings will be valuable for the entire pack.

Her precious genes will be passed on to later generations when she is given an opportunity to start a pack of her own. Trumpet has a long, bright future ahead of her.

Our greatest wish at the Wolf Conservation Center is that Trumpet and her offspring will one day be able to answer the call of the wild and roam free, taking their rightful place in the southwestern landscape.

Until then, Trumpet will keep her parents on their toes and give scientists new insights into wolf behavior, all while viewers at home continue to fall in love with this critically endangered wolf pup.

Rebecca Bose is curator of the Wolf Conservation Center in Westchester County, New York.

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