Wolf pup born in Missouri offers hope for endangered breed

A Mexican wolf born this month at a wildlife center in suburban St. Louis is offering new hope for repopulating the endangered species through artificial insemination using sperm that had been frozen.

The Mexican wolf population once numbered in the thousands but was nearly wiped out by the 1970s, largely from decades of hunting, trapping and poisoning. It was designated an endangered species in 1976.

Even today, only 130 Mexican wolves live in the wild and another 220 live in captivity, including 20 at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri.

A litter of Mexican wolves was conceived by artificial insemination in Mexico in 2014. But the birth April 2 at the Missouri center was the first-ever for the breed using frozen semen. Officials at the center say the male pup is doing well.