It was a difficult summer at Binder Park Zoo. It began with joyful news in June that four four Mexican gray wolf pups were born to a first-time breeding pair named Flynn and Izzy, but, "sadly, one pup passed away early of pneumonia and then later, two others died of Eastern equine encephalitis – a highly and unusually rare occurrence in a canid species," said the Zoo.

But now comes news that the Zoo has received at $50,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for funding to create a new Mexican gray wolf exhibit at the zoo, plus another $15,000 for operations.

"The Mexican gray wolf exhibit will move from its current location; near the Binda Conservation Carousel, to an area east of the Barnum Creek that will focus on North American animal species. The current exhibit has a lookout deck where the wolves are viewed by guests from above - no longer considered best zoological practice.  The new habitat will include a viewing area that respects the needs of the species and meets best practice where guest can observe the wolves at ground level; along with educational space to share conservation messages and general information about the wolves." - Binder Park Zoo release

“This tragic incident was heartbreaking not just for zoo staff, but it also struck a serious blow to the conservation efforts for this species,” says Brett Linsley, Manager of Wildlife, Conservation and Education at the zoo.  Linsley continued “The new exhibit will not only provide a larger, more suitable habitat for the wolves to thrive in, but will help us redouble our efforts towards the breeding of these animals with the goal of future releases back into the wild.”