The Mexican Gray Wolf is the most endangered species of wolf, especially in North America. These wolves were nearly driven extinct in the 1970s, which prompted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to focus on conservation efforts for these beautiful canines. For nearly 30 years, there were no Mexican Gray Wolves in the wild, but in the late 90s, pups bred in captivity were released into the wild once again. While their population has certainly made a comeback, there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s important that we raise awareness of these animals and their plight, in order to make sure they never get close to extinction again.
Why they became endangered
The main reason the Mexican Gray Wolf population suffered so severely, was due to ranching and livestock moving into their territory during the late 1800s. These wolves are only found in the Southwest of North America, ranging through Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and parts of Mexico. As more and more ranchers arrived, their property began encroaching on the wolves territory, which often led to clashes between the two. Wolves would hunt livestock, especially since those animals were easy prey and the wolves’ natural prey had become harder to find. In response to the wolves targeting their livestock, many farmers began hunting the wolves, setting traps, and putting out poison. These methods decimated the wolf population in just a few decades, which led to them becoming extinct in the wild.
How we helped their population
Once the United States Fish and Wildlife Service became aware of the severe threat to this species, the Mexican Gray Wolf was placed on the Endangered Species List in 1976. Once this designation was made, Roy T. McBride was hired to catch the remaining wolves in order to start a captive breeding program. The wolves were caught, but it took several years before they could be successfully bred. It wasn’t until 1981 that the first litter of pups was born and successfully raised. The Endangered Wolf Center is to thank for this great comeback of the species. Thanks to their hard work, there are now around 100 Mexican Gray Wolves in the wild, though there’s still a long way to go before this species is considered stable. Wild litters of pups are being born and raised and pups are still being raised in captivity. Hopefully, in a few years, we’ll see the population swell.
Basic facts about them
There are plenty of fascinating facts about the Mexican Gray Wolf. Known as “el lobo,” these wolves ruled the North American southwest, keeping populations of deer, elk, and similar animals under control. A fairly small type of wolf, Mexican Gray Wolves only grow to be about 60-90 pounds, which is half the size of the North American Gray Wolf. Like other wolves, they live in packs and work together to survive. You can help these incredible animals by donating to wildlife programs to raise awareness and improve conservation efforts.