An endangered Mexican gray wolf will be released into the wild from Brookfield Zoo to a refuge in New Mexico.
The Chicago Zoological Society runs Brookfield Zoo and says the female wolf will be moved Saturday to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge. They say the 4 1/2-year-old wolf, named Ernesta, will be paired with a mate for potential release. Wildlife biologists will put the pair through a "boot camp" to prepare them for the wild.
Zoo officials say the release will boost the species' wild population, which is about 60 in New Mexico and Arizona. They also say Ernesta's release will help foster genetic diversity.
Ernesta has been at Brookfield Zoo since 2010. There are 283 Mexican wolves living in 52 institutions across the U.S.