Mexican Wolf
Southwest Region Ecological Services
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Collared Mexican wolf stands in the snow. CRedit: USFWS.
Collared Mexican wolf stands in the snow. Credit: USFWS.
Mexican Wolf Recovery    

The Mexican wolf is the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Once common throughout portions of the southwestern United States, the Mexican wolf was all but eliminated from the wild by the 1970s. In 1977, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated efforts to conserve the species. In 1998, Mexican wolves were released to the wild for the first time in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area. Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, the howl of the Mexican wolf can once again be heard in the mountains of the southwestern United States.


Recent Wolf Stories

A Mexican wolf in the wild. Credit: Mexican Wolf IFT.
A Mexican wolf in the wild. Credit: Mexican Wolf IFT.

2018 Mexican Wolf Minimum Population Estimate

April 2019
The recent Mexican wolf count indicates that the population of Mexican wolves has increased by 12 percent since last year, raising the total number of wolves in the wild to a minimum of 131 animals. From November 2018 through January 2019, the Interagency Field Team (IFT) conducted ground counts in Arizona and New Mexico that concluded with aerial counts of Mexican wolves in February.

Among the IFT’s findings: 131 wolves are nearly evenly distributed – 64 wolves in Arizona and 67 in New Mexico. Last year, the team documented 117 wolves. This year’s total represents a 12 percent increase in the population of Canis lupus baileyi.

“The survey results indicate the Mexican wolf program is helping save an endangered subspecies,” said Amy Lueders, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region. “The Mexican wolf has come back from the brink of extinction, thanks to scientific management and the dedicated work of a lot of partners. With continued support and research, we can continue to make progress in Mexican wolf recovery.”

This year’s findings confirmed:

  • There are a minimum of 32 packs of wolves (two or more animals), plus seven individuals.
  • A minimum of 18 packs had pups; 16 of these packs had pups that survived to the end of the year.
  • A minimum of 81 pups were born in 2018, and at least 47 survived to the end of the year.
  • Seventy-nine wolves—60 percent of the population—wore functioning radio collars. The collars help researchers manage and monitor the population and are vital to collecting scientific information.

The discovery of cross-fostered wolves was a bright spot in the annual survey. The IFT last spring placed eight captive pups into four wild dens to boost the genetic variability in the wild population. The team began cross-fostering in 2014. Read the News Release below for additional details.

News Releases for Mexican Wolf

2018 Mexican wolf Count Cause for Optimism

Search Underway for Escaped Mexican Wolf near Divide, CO

Man Pleads Guilty to Wolf Killing in Arizona

Captive-born Mexican Wolf Pups Doing Well Following Successful Introductions into Wild Wolf Litters

2017 U.S. Mexican Wolf Population Survey Completed

Service and Partners Mark 20th Anniversary of Release of Mexican Wolves in Wild

Flight Operations Begin for Mexican Wolf Population Survey


For additional USFWS Mexican Wolf News Releases visit the Newsroom and search for Mexican wolf.

Mexican Wolf Monthly Updates
Map of recent wolf locations
Recent Wolf Locations (ArcGIS)
Mexican wolf experimental population map
Download copy of Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Map. USFWS.
Recovery Programs
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Program
Red Wolf Recovery Program
Western Great Lakes Wolf Recovery Program

Contact the Mexican Wolf Program to report wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations

Call toll free at 1-888-459-9653 or 928-339-4329

To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves

Call the Arizona Game and Fish Department's 24-hour dispatch Operation Game Thief at
Last updated: May 20, 2019