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First Ever Mexican Wolf Pup Born Using Frozen Sperm Gives Hope to Endangered Species

Apr 27, 2017 03:20 PM EDT

There's a newborn Mexican wolf pup that shines as new hope for all species who are nearly extinct.

According to a report from Fox 2 Now, the three-week-old pup is the product of artificial insemination, the very first of its kind -- and hopefully the first of many. The procedure was made possible with genetic samples from wolves who walked the forest two decades ago.

"That's the first time in history this has ever been done," Endangered Wolf Center (EWC) director of animal care and conservation Regina Mossotti said. "The Endangered Wolf Center has been working with the St. Louis Zoo and the Fish and Wildlife Service for over 20 years to collect semen in the hopes that this would be able to happen someday. And the technology has finally caught up and we were successful and able to have a pup."

The history-making pup had a weigh-in and check-up. Officials say he is healthy and strong with a good heartbeat. Weighing 4.7 pounds, the vet has also checked to make sure he is free of ticks and fleas.

"Just like you would a dog puppy at home we give him a de-wormer and weigh him and make sure they're growing at the right pace and he was big, strong and healthy," Mossotti explained.

The success of the project isn't just an achievement for Mexican wolves, a species with a dwindling population of only 130 in the wild. The same operation could be used to save other endangered animals.

"This little pup offers new hope," Virginia Busch, executive director of the EWC, said in an official statement. "To succeed in conserving a species, many tools are needed in our proverbial 'toolbox.' Using frozen semen will help maintain the genetic and overall health of the critically endangered Mexican wolf population by allowing scientists to draw from a larger pool of genes-wolves at other institutions and also deceased individuals."

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