Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 16, 2023


Jacqueline Covey, Defenders of Wildlife,
Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, (928) 202-1325,
Devon Naples, New Mexico Wild, (505) 843-8696,
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 313-7017,
Erin Hunt, Lobos of the Southwest, (928) 421-0187,

Events in Arizona, New Mexico to Mark Silver Anniversary of Mexican Gray Wolves in Wild

SILVER CITY, N.M.— Public events throughout the Southwest this spring will mark the 25th anniversary of the first release of Mexican gray wolves into the wild.

Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced into the Apache National Forest of eastern Arizona on March 29, 1998. One of the most endangered mammals in North America, this small, unique arid-lands wolf is still on the path to recovery.  

Lessons learned and a celebration of progress will mark in-person and online events in Arizona and New Mexico.

Events include:

  • March 22, noon to 1:30 p.m. MST: Defenders of Wildlife’s Craig Miller will host a web discussion following a presentation: “The Silver Anniversary: 25 Years Coexisting with Mexican Gray Wolves.”
  • March 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. MST: Film screening and panel discussion at the Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, with Craig Miller of Defenders of Wildlife and Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.
  • March 28, 7 p.m. MST: Sunny Dooley, Diné/Navajo storyteller, will share the traditional “Story of Leadership and The Wisdom of the Wolf” at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium, Grand Canyon Village, Arizona. Visit for more information.
  • March 30, 5:30 to 8 p.m. MDT: Film screening and presentation from New Mexico Wild Staff Attorney Sally Paez, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Michael Robinson, Defenders of Wildlife’s Craig Miller and Project Coyote’s David Parsons at the Student Union Building theater, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Visit for more information.
  • April 12, noon to 1:30 pm MST: Online webinar with Philip Hedrick, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Arizona State University, and Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: Mexican wolf genetics and the losses caused by politicized management.
  • April 13, 5 to 8 p.m. MDT: Music by the Gypsy Carpenters and a presentation from the Center for Biological Diversity’s Michael Robinson, Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery, 200 N. Bullard St., Silver City, New Mexico.

Planning is underway and additional events will be announced. Events are organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, Lobos of the Southwest, New Mexico Wild, Project Coyote, the Rewilding Institute, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, Wild Arizona and Wolf Conservation Center.

More information, including updated event listings, will be posted on the Lobos of the Southwest homepage.

In 1915 the United States government began a wolf poisoning and trapping program on behalf of the livestock industry. By the early 1930s there were few or no reproducing wolves in Arizona or New Mexico and federal trappers near the international border killed wolves arriving from Mexico.

In 1950 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded its wolf extermination program to Mexico. After the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act, just seven wild-caught Mexican gray wolves were successfully bred in captivity to save the subspecies.

The 1998 releases of 11 captive-born wolves and subsequent releases have led to a population in Arizona and New Mexico that was recently counted at 241 animals. However, due to mismanagement the genetic diversity of the original seven founding animals has been dramatically reduced, requiring changes to wolf release techniques, wolf removal decisions and wolf territory boundaries that the Fish and Wildlife Service is resisting.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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