Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 22, 2023


Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project (520)623-1878,
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 313-7017,
Chris Smith, WildEarth Guardians, (505) 395-6177,

Only Four Collared Wild Mexican Gray Wolves Survive in Mexico

Conservationists Sound Alarm Over U.S. Reliance on Mexico’s Wolf Population

TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservationists sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today warning about the severely low numbers of Mexican gray wolves in Mexico. The agency relies on the Mexican population of wolves as a buttress against extinction in the United States.

Just four remaining radio-collared wolves are alive, joined by a likely very low number of uncollared individuals, according to information obtained through a public records request.

“We support Mexican gray wolf recovery in Mexico and hope the United States will do all it can to bring back the lobo across the border,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “However, it’s painfully clear that the Service’s reliance on a second, stable population of wolves outside of the U.S. Southwest is misplaced. The agency needs to immediately begin building additional populations in the United States to ensure against the second wild extinction of this species.”

“The Fish and Wildlife Service should start listening to scientists and release Mexican wolves in the Grand Canyon region and southern Rockies instead of doing the bidding of state game departments dominated by the livestock industry,” said Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Biologists in Mexico are heroically trying to keep lobos alive on private lands where there are few deer and no elk. That shouldn’t give U.S. authorities a pass to shirk Mexican gray wolf recovery in the Southwest.”

Mexico has been releasing Mexican gray wolves into the wild since 2011, and the Service has been relying in part on this second population to justify its claim that U.S. lobos are “nonessential” under the Endangered Species Act. But a recent analysis by Western Watersheds Project demonstrates that only about 20% of the released collared wolves survive for longer than one year, with the median lifespan in the wild being approximately two and a half months.

“This should raise alarms at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Chris Smith, southwest wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “First, they cannot rely on another sovereign nation to recover imperiled species. And second, they need to do more at home to protect and restore this iconic keystone species, which continues to be illegally killed and otherwise persecuted.”

“The recent data highlighting severely low populations of wild wolves in Mexico raises serious concerns over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's continued reliance upon a second recovering population in Mexico — where they have no authority to oversee recovery efforts,” said Renee Seacor, carnivore conservation advocate at Project Coyote and The Rewilding Institute. “Instead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should focus their recovery efforts on addressing persistent threats to the population, including continued illegal killings.”

Mexican gray wolf photo available for media use with appropriate credit: Jim Clark/USFWS. Image is available for media use.

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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