WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

Select Page

WildEarth Guardians’ efforts to defend Mexican wolves

Restoring Lobos

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, allowing lobos to live throughout their historic range, and ensure that wolves are protected from poaching and only removed from the wild in cases of imminent threat to human health or safety.

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.



Greatest Threat

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.



Genetic Diversity

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

Protection & Recovery

Find out more about Mexican wolf reintroduction and our efforts to protect and restore the lobo.

The Greater Gila Bioregion

Learn about our work in the Greater Gila Bioregion, home of the Mexican wolf.

A Better Approach to Wolf Recovery

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.