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MEXICAN GRAY WOLF } Canis lupus baileyi

RANGE: Currently limited to the Gila Headwaters ecosystem in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico

STATUS: Listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

THREATS: Federal predator control, poaching, and trapping

The Mexican gray wolf is the smallest subspecies of gray wolf living in North America. Its range once extended throughout southwestern Texas, southern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and as far south as central Mexico, but because ranchers blamed them for attacking their livestock these wolves were very nearly poisoned and trapped out of existence. The last few survivors formed the foundation of a captive breeding program, and the wolves were reintroduced into the American Southwest in 1998. Today, about 50 wild wolves roam a much smaller range near the Arizona-New Mexico border, but poor management and pressure from the livestock industry have stymied recovery and kept the Mexican wolf struggling for its place in the wild.


Photo © Robin Silver