By Dawna Matthews:
This summer has been filled with heaps of fun, changes in weather patterns, sunshine, some of the largest full moons, and the spotting of gray wolf puppies in the wild. This is a major celebration in the endangered species world after almost four years of trying to reintroduce gray wolves to their natural habitat.
The Mexican gray wolf is the rarest and smallest of the five gray wolf subspecies in North America and the most endangered of
the wolf species. At one point, their total number had been reduced to just seven animals. This particular subspecies once roamed Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico; but by the mid-1970s was almost eliminated due to hunting, trapping, and increased populations of humans encroaching upon the land.
In 1976, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service began to make great efforts to protect this beautiful yet virtually extinct animal. Primary efforts focused on capturing the Mexican gray wolves in the United States and Mexico and, in turn, breeding the wolves in captivity in order to increase their numbers. Once the numbers stabilized, the wolf then would be slowly reintroduced to the wild. In1998, reintroduction of the Mexican wolf into the native habitat of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona and New Mexico was initiated. Eleven of the most unique subspecies of gray wolf began their journey to recovery and rejuvenation of the species. In 2013, wolves born in captivity were released into the wild with the hope they would breed. The National Commission for Natural Protected Areas of Mexico released a statement in July confirming that wolf pups had been sighted in the Western Sierra Madre Mountains and are doing well.
Some of you may remember an article about the gray wolf we posted earlier this spring and how their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park has had a positive impact on the ecosystem. Biologists believe the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to the wild will improve their numbers as a species as well as restore balance to the Southwest’s ecosystem, similar to that of Yellowstone. The wolf will keep healthy levels of animal populations such as deer, elk and wild pigs, as well as prevent the deforestation of much needed plants. The reintroduction of wolves in the wild is still a controversial topic, as many are fighting to keep them in captivity. The Fish and Wildlife Service has several proposed changes to the wolf efforts this month, some which may keep wolves in captivity and threaten their full immersion into the wild.
We should all howl at the moon in celebration of the first sighting of these Mexican pups in the wild. In order to keep our momentum with the progress that has been made for these animals and the ecosystem, we need to stay informed and proactive. To read more about supporting the recovery of Mexican gray wolves as well as the proposed changes to these efforts, visit