Photo Credit: Conservation Center
WildEarth Guardians’ efforts to defend Mexican wolves
The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is the most endangered gray wolf in North America and one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. After lobos were nearly wiped out, reintroduction began in 1998 in remote areas of New Mexico and Arizona. Since then, recovery has been slow and turbulent.
In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that the only wild population of Mexican gray wolves in the U.S. was not essential to the recovery of Mexican gray wolves as a species. Guardians and our allies sued, and in 2018, a U.S. district judge told the Service to go back to the drawing board to write a new management rule for the lobo.
Now, we’re all at the drawing board—and we need your voice to help ensure that Mexican wolf management aims at true recovery.
To truly recover lobos, a new rule should be based on the best available science and prioritize enhancing the genetic diversity of the wild lobo population. It should allow for the release of more wolves into the wild; limit the removal of wild wolves except in cases of imminent threat to human health or safety; protect wolves from poaching; and reduce wolf-livestock conflict.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “decision to maintain the population’s nonessential status without consideration of the best available information was arbitrary and capricious.”
— Honorable Jennifer G. Zipps, United States District Judge
Lobos are Essential
Lobos are critical ecosystem influencers in the desert southwest.
They keep prey populations healthy and in balance, protect riparian and aquatic resources, and indicate the health of entire ecosystems.
Humans are the largest obstacle to truly recovering lobos.
Along with illegal trapping and hunting, vehicular mortalities, and official removals from the wild, politically motivated “recovery” plans have put the lobo in a precarious position.
Distinct, Yet Connected
The best available science shows that real recovery for lobos would include three distinct, but connected populations of at least 200 wolves (and 750 wolves in total).
Along with lobos‘ current range in the Greater Gila Bioregion, the Grand Canyon area and the Southern Rockies are identified as prime habitat.
Mexican wolves in the wild are, on average, as related as brothers and sisters.
Though lobos are increasing in number, perhaps the greatest indicator of recovery efforts is the genetic health of the wild population. Unfortunately, a genetic bottleneck threatens lobos: those in the wild are, on average, as genetically related as brothers and sisters.
Mexican Gray Wolves
Ways we are working to protect and recover the species
Read the letter conservationists, leading scientists, and animal activists sent the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the new Mexican wolf management rule.
How You Can Help
Help protect the incredible, vulnerable wildlife of the West! Be a guardian for the wild by joining the conversation, learning about current issues, and making your voice heard. Together, we're a powerful force for nature.
Recent Stories From Wildlife
The five wildlife refuges along the Rio Grande provide key habitat for at least 25 species listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act
Five leading experts presented their findings during a November 2019 conference at the University of Montana.
As we commemorated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day last month, WildEarth Guardians did so with a somber reckoning that we have not heeded planetary health warnings early or well enough. Therefore, these times require ever more profound shifts to realign our commitment to the Earth and our mutual well-being.Read more >
A petition filed by four conservation groups last week urges the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to amend its rules to require that livestock producers use “appropriate non-lethal deterrence methods” to prevent conflicts between livestock and wolves.Read more >