Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Revision to Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan Outlines Conservation Strategy, Highlights Service’s Commitment to Working with Landowners, States, Tribes, Mexico

November 29, 2017


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

ALBUQUERQUE – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed a revision to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The goal of the plan is to provide guidance to recover the subspecies and remove it from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and turn its management over to the appropriate states and tribes after the species is delisted. The recovery plan uses the best available science to chart a path forward for the Mexican wolf that can be accommodated within the species’ historical range in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This revised plan provides measurable and objective criteria which, when met, will enable the Service to remove the Mexican wolf from the list of endangered species and turn its management over to the appropriate states and tribes.

The original Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, published in 1982, focused on reintroduction and recovery efforts to halt the extinction of the Mexican wolf. Since 1998, the Service has been reestablishing a wild population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico that numbered at least 113 in 2016. Mexico began releasing Mexican wolves in 2011 and now has a wild population of about 31.

The recovery strategy outlined in the revised plan is to establish two Mexican wolf populations distributed within the subspecies’ historical range in the United States and Mexico. This strategy for the Mexican wolf addresses the threats to the species, including human-caused mortality, extinction risk associated with small population size, and the loss of gene diversity.

At the time of recovery, the Service expects Mexican wolf populations to be stable or increasing in abundance, well-distributed geographically within their historical range, and genetically diverse. In the United States, we will implement the recovery strategy for the Mexican wolf south of I-40 in Arizona and New Mexico, in the area designated as the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area. In Mexico, federal agencies are focusing on Mexican wolf recovery efforts in the Sierra Madre Occidental in Sonora, Durango, and Chihuahua.

“Mexican wolves are on the road to recovery in the Southwest thanks to the cooperation, flexibility and hard work of our partners,” said Amy Lueders, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “This spirit of collaboration is going to help us meet the recovery goals for this species. States, tribes, landowners, conservation groups, the captive breeding facilities, federal agencies and citizens of the Southwest can be proud of their roles in saving this sentinel of wilderness.”

The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan has undergone an extensive review through each stage of development and incorporates the best scientific information available today. This revised recovery plan was developed with Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah; the Forest Service; and federal agencies in Mexico to enable recovery of the Mexican wolf while ensuring the needs and interests of local communities are fully considered. It includes consideration of geographic distribution, population abundance, genetic management, monitoring and adaptive management, and ongoing collaboration with partners to recover the Mexican wolf in a manner that minimizes effects on local communities, livestock production, native ungulate herds, and recreation. 

In April 2016, the Service signed a Settlement Agreement with the State of Arizona and Defenders of Wildlife and other organizations to complete a final revised Mexican wolf recovery plan by the end of November 2017. 

To review the revised recovery plan and related documents, visit the Service’s Mexican wolf website at:

The Mexican wolf recovery program is a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, and several participating counties. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Mexican wolf population and includes field personnel from several of the partner agencies.

For more information on the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program, visit or




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