Mexican Wolf Reestablishment and Recovery Programme

To reestablish the Mexican wolf throughout its historic range in the USA and Mexico


The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is the rarest, southernmost and most genetically distinct sub-species of the grey wolf in North America.


Its geographical range in the United States included Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In Mexico, the wolf was found in the Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental and adjoining highlands as far south as Distrito Federal. Mexican wolf habitat includes oak woodland, pine/oak woodland or pine forest with adjacent grassland within mountainous terrain. The primary cause of the Mexican wolf's decline throughout its range is human persecution. Habitat degradation, human encroachment and inadequate law enforcement may be further factors. In 1976 the Mexican wolf was listed as an endangered sub-species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. In Mexico this sub-species is also listed as endangered.


Missing from the landscape for decades, the howl of the Mexican wolf can again be heard in the mountains of the south-western United States thanks to the cooperation of the nations, organisations and zoological institutions involved in the Mexican wolf recovery programme. International wolf experts rate the recovery of the Mexican wolf as the highest priority wolf recovery programme in the world. Between 1977 and 1980, five wolves were removed from the wild in Mexico to start an ex situ breeding programme under the auspices of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Mexico's Secretaria del Medio Ambiente Recursos Naturales y Pesca. Since 1993 the U.S. population has been managed through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP). The population in Mexico is managed by the Direccion General de Vida Silvestre. Programme participants today comprise two nations, 48 zoological institutions and conservation organizations managing jointly some 300 Mexican wolves. On March 1998, 11 captive-raised Mexican wolves in three family groups were released on public lands in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in the United States; they were the first free-roaming Mexican wolves confirmed in the wild since 1980. Today, the total wild population may be greater than 40 animals, most having been born in the wild. The reestablishment goal is 100 Mexican wolves for this population in the United States. Mexico has identified several potential release locations and is promoting educational and public relations efforts in those areas. As of 2010, Mexico is preparing for the release of wolves in once native habitat within Mexico.


WAZA Conservation Project 10024 is implemented by the Living Desert together with Zoológico de Guadalajara, Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón, Zoológico de León, Zoológico "Los Coyotes", Zoológico "Alfonso L. Herrera" del Bosque de  Chapultepec, Parque Zoológico "La Pastora", Africam Safari, Centro Ecológico de Sonora (CEDES), Zoológico de Tamatán, Zoológico de Zacango, Rancho "Los Encinos", Rancho "La Mesa", Reserva "La Michilia", Museo del Desierto, Alameda Park Zoo, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Binder Park Zoo, Dakota Zoo, Living Desert State Park, Brookfield Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Hillcrest Park Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Cente, Columbus Zoological Garden, El Paso Zoo, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, California Wolf Center, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Minnesota Zoological Garden, Wolf Conservation Center, Smithsonian National Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Phoenix Zoo, Heritage Park Zoo, Albuquerque Biological Park, Sedgwick County Zoo, Stone Memorial Zoo, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Utica Zoo, Endangered Wolf Center (Wild Canid Survival and Research Center), Wildlife West Nature Park, Navajo Nation Zoological and Biological Park, Wolf Haven International, Wildlife Science Center, WolfHaven International, Ladder Ranch and Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility. Other stakeholders involved in the project include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Wildlife Services, US Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Fish and Game, Mexico's Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas and Mexico's SEMARNAT Direccion General de Vida Silvestre.




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