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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.

Protect Lobos

Our Mexican gray wolf tool kit has everything you need to raise your voice for lobos, including ready-to-go social media posts and tips for writing a letter to the editor.

Visit the wolf tool kit


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.

Take Action

Tell the Service that you want to see a lobo management rule that will actually recover Mexican wolves by signing our petition.

Submit Your Comments to Help Mexican Gray Wolves

Your voice is needed to protect Lobos!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking comments on their Mexican wolf planning rule until January 27, 2022 and you can submit your comments right here. For public participation opportunities, click here to see upcoming virtual information sessions and public hearings.

We’ve provided talking points below to help guide you in writing your comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please use these talking points as a guideline for drafting your individual comments, but what’s most important is that your voice and your reason for wanting lobo recovery come through. So, please speak in your own words, but make sure to emphasize the fact that a new Mexican wolf management rule must:

Rescue Mexican wolves from a genetic bottleneck

  • A real genetic rescue entails releasing adult wolf pairs with pups until the wild population of lobos demonstrates adequate genetic diversity improvements. Releasing a set, limited number of wolves into the wild is not a real genetic objective—very few wolves who reach breeding age actually contribute their genes to the wild population.

Allow lobos to roam throughout their historic range

  • Preventing wolves from crossing arbitrary political boundaries like Interstate 40 is unacceptable. In order to truly recover, Mexican wolves need access to suitable habitat in the southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon region.

Designate lobos as “essential”

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the only wild population of Mexican wolves in the U.S. as “non-essential” to the recovery of the species in the wild. Designating this population as “essential” is common sense and crucial to recovery.

Limit the removal of wild wolves

  • There should be no limit to the number of lobos in the wild.
  • Wolves are never to be killed except in cases of imminent threat to human health or safety.

Reduce wolf-livestock conflict

  • Managing agencies proactively engage and educate stakeholders regarding wolf behavior, ecology, and coexistence tactics.
  • Public land grazing permittees with knowledge that wolves are on nearby public land must ensure the presence of a person equipped to chase and harass wolves to deter livestock depredation.
  • Public land grazing permittees must remove or render inedible livestock carcasses that were not killed by wolves.
  • All instances of wolves feeding on livestock, along with corresponding necropsies, are documented and made publicly available.

Protect lobos from poaching

  • Livestock grazing permittees found guilty of illegally killing or injuring a lobo forfeit their permit.
  • Only scientists doing research and professionals involved in official wolf management have access to tracking devices or real-time GPS information.

Aligning a new 10(j) rule with the deeply flawed 2017 recovery plan goes against the court ordered remand of this rule.

Click here to submit your comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before the January 27, 2022 deadline!

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.

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