The chronology below provides an overview of significant events related to the Mexican wolf recovery program, updated as of July 2013.
Mexican wolves extirpated from the Southwestern US primarily by private, state, and government control campaigns.
Mexican wolf listed as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act
(note: the subspecies level listing was subsumed into a species level listing of the gray wolf in 1978).
5 wolves captured in Mexico to establish a captive breeding program.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forms Mexican Wolf Recovery Team.
Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan completed; contains goal of maintaining a captive breeding program and re-establishment of a viable,
self-sustaining population of at least 100 wolves within their historical range.
Wolf Action Group files lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alleging failure to implement the 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hires a Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator to implement recovery of the species.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the
Experimental Reintroduction of Mexican Wolves into Suitable Habitat within the Historic Range of the Subspecies.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases draft EIS.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes proposed Mexican wolf experimental population rule in the Federal Register.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases Final EIS entitled: "Reintroduction of the Mexican Wolf within its
Historic Range in the Southwestern United States."
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt issues Record of Decision on the Final EIS and selected the Preferred
Alternative: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reintroduce captive-raised Mexican wolves in eastern Arizona within the Blue Range Wolf
Recovery Area (BRWRA). Released wolves and their offspring are designated a nonessential experimental population and will be allowed to
colonize the entire BRWRA. If necessary and feasible, White Sands Missile Range could be used as a back-up area.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes the Mexican Wolf Final Rule (Establishment of a Nonessential
Experimental Population of the Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico) in the Federal Register.
Captive breeding population of Mexican wolves reaches approximately 177 animals.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases the first 11 Mexican wolves into the wild in the BRWRA.
New Mexico Cattle Growers Association et. al., files lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
alleging violations of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Administrative Procedures Act (APA)
in authorizing and implementing the Mexican wolf reintroduction project.
At year's end, at least 4 Mexican wolves in 2 packs are in the wild.
Courts rule U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complied with NEPA, ESA, and APA; lawsuit is dismissed.
At year's end, at least 15 Mexican wolves in 5 packs are in the wild.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares an Environmental Assessment for Translocation of Mexican Wolves
Throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona and New Mexico.
First Mexican wolves translocated into the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.
White Mountain Apache Tribe enters into a cooperative agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
allow wolves to inhabit the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), adding approximately 2,440 square miles to the recovery area.
The Hawks Nest pack produced the first documented wild conceived, wild born Mexican wolf pup (mp674) in
the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
At year's end, at least 22 wolves in 6 packs are in the wild.
Pursuant to the Final Rule, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed the 3-Year Review. Scientists recommend
program should continue but with modifications.
Congress directs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct an independent review of the 3-Year Review. Outcome
of the independent review (completed by States of Arizona and New Mexico September 2002) determines the need to restore the States role in
the Mexican wolf recovery program; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begins developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with program partners
to restructure the Mexican wolf program with the States and Tribes.
At year's end, at least 26 wolves in 8 packs are in the wild.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe signs on as a primary cooperator, providing the potential for wolves to be
directly released on tribal lands.
Coalition of Arizona and New Mexico Counties, et al. file a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue for violations of
NEPA, ESA, and APA alleging Mexican wolves are hybridizing with domestic dogs.
San Carlos Apache Tribe passes resolution to remove all Mexican wolves from the Reservation.
At year's end, at least 41 wolves in 8 packs are in the wild.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassifies the gray wolf into 3 Distinct Population Segments. Mexican
wolves maintain classification as endangered or non-essential and became part of the Southwestern Distinct Population Segment.
Coalition of Arizona and New Mexico Counties et al., file lawsuit regarding the 2002 Notice of Intent
alleging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 1) failed to consider the impacts of hybridization; 2) failed to prepare a supplemental
EIS; and 3) violated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by improperly withholding documents.
San Carlos Apache Tribe enters into a cooperative agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wolf
monitoring and management to include removal.
The first release of a pack of Mexican wolves occurs on Fort Apache Indian Reservation in cooperation
with White Mountain Apache Tribe.
Defenders of Wildlife et al., files lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Gray Wolf Reclassification Rule.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appoints and convenes the Southwestern Distinct Population Segment Gray
Wolf Recovery Team to begin recovery planning for the newly established Southwestern Distinct Population Segment. This recovery plan
will supersede the 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes the MOU with Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico
Department of Game and Fish, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, USDA-Forest Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe, New Mexico Department
of Agriculture, and several counties. The MOU restructures the Mexican wolf recovery program to allow the States and Tribes to
implement the BRWRA reintroduction project while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains responsibilities for recovery. The MOU
establishes an Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC) and an Adaptive Management Working Group (AMWG).
At year's end, at least 55 wolves in 9 packs are in the wild.
Pursuant to the Final Rule, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and AMOC cooperators begin the Mexican Wolf Blue Range
Reintroduction Project 5-Year Review; draft reports released to public for review and comment in December.
At year's end, between 44 and 48 wolves in 14 packs are in the wild.
Courts rule in favor of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Arizona and New Mexico Coalition of
Counties, et al., hybrid lawsuit; lawsuit dismissed.
Court enjoins and vacates the 2003 Reclassification Rule; the ruling negates the 3 previously established
DPS's including the Southwestern DPS. Recovery planning for the Mexican wolf is put on hold.
Arizona and New Mexico Coalition of Counties, et al., file for appeal regarding the hybrid lawsuit.
The AMOC completes the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project 5-Year Review and submits to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for consideration. Included are a set of 37 recommendations for improving management of the Blue Range
wolf reintroduction project, many of which would require a change to the Final Rule.
At year's end, between 35 and 49 wolves in 12 packs are in the wild.
The Center for Biological Diversity files lawsuit against the Service alleging the Service had been
unreasonable in its delay in making a final decision to grant or deny a rulemaking petition to implement steps to stop the critically
imperiled Mexican gray wolf from becoming extinct in the wild.
At year's end, at least 59 wolves in 10 packs are in the wild.
On August 7, 2007, the Service issued a notice of scoping meetings and intent to prepare an EIS and
socio-economic assessment for the proposed amendment of the rule establishing a nonessential experimental population of the Arizona
and New Mexico population of the gray wolf (72 Federal Register 44065-44069). The Service held scoping meetings in 12 Arizona and
New Mexico communities in 2007, and received approximately 13,500 written comments from the public, non-governmental organizations
and government agencies at the local, state and federal levels. In response to considerable interest in cooperating agency status
among Arizona and New Mexico counties, on September 10, 2008, the Service held a welcome and kick-off meeting in Albuquerque,
New Mexico for parties that had requested or obtained cooperating agency status on the EIS . The meeting was attended by thirty-five
people representing four military organizations, fifteen Arizona and New Mexico counties, four federal agencies and one Native
American tribe. Work has been temporarily suspended on the EIS pending resolution of the nationwide status of the gray wolf and the
status of the Mexican wolf.
Forest Guardians and Sinapu (later merged and renamed "WildEarth Guardians") issued a 60-day Notice of
Intent to sue the Service for failure to actively further the conservation of Mexican gray wolf.
At year's end, at least 52 wolves in 11 packs are in the wild.
WildEarth Guardians and the Rewilding Institute filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District
of Arizona alleging that the Service and the USDA-Forest Service had failed to meet the requirement of Section 10(j) of the Endangered
Species Act that any release of an experimental population of an endangered or threatened species will further the conservation of such
species (WildEarth Guardians v U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2:08-CV-820, D. AZ, 2008).
Defenders of Wildlife and ten other conservation and non-governmental organizations filed a lawsuit in the
U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona alleging that the Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered
Species Act and Administrative Procedures Act in creating AMOC and authorizing Standard Operating Procedure 13, which requires permanent
removal of wolves that have engaged in three livestock depredation incidents during a one-year period (Defenders of Wildlife v Hall,
4:08-CV-289, D.AZ. 2008).
In July, the court consolidated the WildEarth Guardians and Defenders of Wildlife cases due to their similarity.
From July 28 through October 20, 2008, the parties filed briefs in response to the Service's motion to dismiss. At year's end, the court
was still considering the motion to dismiss.
At year's end, at least 52 wolves in 10 packs are in the wild.
The Service, in cooperation with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, established the Mexican Wolf
/ Livestock Interdiction Trust Fund (Interdiction Fund) on September 23, 2009. The objective of the Interdiction Fund is to generate
long-term funding for prolonged financial support to livestock operators within the framework of conservation and recovery of Mexican
gray wolf populations in the Southwest. Funding will be applied to initiatives that address management, monitoring, and other proactive
conservation needs for Mexican gray wolves as they relate to livestock, including alternative livestock husbandry practices, grazing
management alternatives, livestock protection, measures to avoid and minimize depredation, habitat protection, species protection,
scientific research, conflict resolution, compensation for damage, education, and outreach activities.
The court denied the Service's motion to dismiss, and on December 2, 2009, the Service and the plaintiffs
finalized settlement in a Consent Decree in which the Service stated it would make no further decisions that relate to the Mexican Wolf
Recovery Program pursuant to the MOU, nor would the Service make decisions that relate to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program pursuant to
Standard Operating Procedure 13.0: Control of Mexican Wolves. In the Consent Decree the Service also recognized that AMOC does not
oversee the actions of the Service, and has no decision-making authority over the Service with regard to the Service's management of
the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program or the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project.
At year's end, at least 42 wolves in 10 packs are in the wild.
In August, Americans for the Preservation of the Western Environment, Adobe Ranch, Beaverhead Ranch,
Alan Tackman, the Gila National Forest Livestock Permittees' Association, Inc., the Otero County Board of Commissioners and the
Catron County Board of Commissioners filed a lawsuit against the Service and the NMDGF in the U.S. District Court for the District
of New Mexico alleging National Environmental Policy Act and Administrative Procedures Act violations relative to the Service's
management decisions regarding Mexican wolves, specifically claiming the Service violated the enabling rules and altered the
program without completing the environmental review required by NEPA (Americans for the Preservation of the Western Environment,
et al. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 1:10-CV-00788 (D. N.M.). NMDGF's motion to dismiss was granted on December 16,
2010. This case remained open through 2010, however, on February 1, 2011, the parties stipulated to voluntarily dismiss the case
without prejudice as to the Federal Defendants.
The Service submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a multi-year listing
work plan that will enable the agency to review and address the needs of more than 250 species listed on the 2010 Candidate Notice
of Review. The multi-year listing work plan was first developed through an agreement with the plaintiff group WildEarth Guardians
and filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 10, 2011. On July 12, 2011, the Service reached an
agreement with plaintiff Center for Biological Diversity that reinforced the multi-year work plan.
On August 4, 2010, the Service announced in the Federal Register a positive 90-day finding on two petitions
to list the Mexican wolf as a subspecies. Pursuant to the court-approved settlement agreements, on October 9, 2012, the Serviced announced
a 12-month finding on the two petitions, stating the petitioned action was not warranted because all of the individuals that comprise the
petitioned entity already receive the protections of the Endangered Species Act. However, it was also stated that the Service continues
to review the appropriate conservation status of all gray wolves that comprise the 1978 gray wolf listing, as revised, and may revise the
currently listing based on the outcome of that review.
A new Memorandum of Understanding is signed.
The Southwest Region initiated the revision of the 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. In December 2010, the
Service charged a new recovery team with the development of a revised recovery plan for the Mexican wolf. The team includes a Tribal
Liaisons Subgroup, Stakeholder Liaisons Subgroup, Agency Liaisons Subgroup, and a Science and Planning Subgroup. When completed and
approved by the Service, the plan will include objective and measurable recovery criteria for delisting the Mexican wolf from the
List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and Plants, management actions that will achieve the criteria, and time and cost estimates
for these actions.
At year's end, at least 50 wolves in 10 packs are in the wild.
In April, the Service appointed an 11-member Interdiction Fund Stakeholder council (ISC), which has the authority
to identify, recommend, and approve conservations activities, identify recipients, and approve the amount of the direct disbursement of funds
to qualified recipients. In 2011, the ISC developed an interim program to compensate livestock producers for wolf depredations and continued
to work on a long-term strategic interdiction plan that focuses more on coexistence than direct compensation for livestock losses.
During the year, the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team holds three full-team meetings.
At year's end, at least 67 wolves in 11 packs are in the wild.
October 9, the Center for Biological Diversity notified the Service of their intent to sue for violations of the
Endangered Species Act in connection with the Service's not warranted finding. On December 10, 2012, the Center for Biological Diversity
filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the determination made by the Service that listing the Mexican wolf as
a subspecies or "distinct population segment" is not warranted. This case was ongoing at the end of 2012.
On November 14, WildEarth Guardians filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the Service to
produce documents and records in connection with two Freedom of Information Act requests. This case was ongoing at the end of 2012.
On November 28, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief
seeking to compel the Service to conclude a formal rulemaking to amend a federal regulation promulgated in 1998 under the Endangered
Species Act that governs the Service's Mexican wolf reintroduction program. This case was ongoing at the end of 2012. On December 26,
2012, the Center for Biological Diversity notified the Service of their intent to sue alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act
in connection with the renewed and amended Research and Recovery Permit for the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the associated
Intra-Service Biological and Concurrence Opinion.
At year's end, at least 75 wolves in 13 packs are in the wild.
Service proposes to remove the Gray Wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and maintain
protections for the Mexican wolf by listing it as an Endangered subspecies.
The Service proposes a revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican wolf.