This week 19 years ago, 11 captive-born Mexican gray wolves (aka lobos) were released into the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona for the first time since they were very nearly eradicated in the early 1970s.  In 1976, three years after the passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the lobo was listed as an endangered species.  From just seven individuals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began a captive breeding program to save the species from extinction.  On March 29, 1998, the first individuals were reintroduced in the Blue Range Recovery Area in New Mexico and Arizona.  After more than 30 years of absence, the rarest subspecies of gray wolf returned home to the mountains of the southwest.  

To commemorate this close call, ESC and many other organizations around the world are celebrating #LoboWeek by raising awareness and mobilizing activists just like you to help!

Tweet: This week is #LoboWeek! Learn more about Mexican gray wolves and take action to help save them: via @endangered

Despite all this celebrating and 20 years of recovery efforts, the Mexican gray wolf is still critically endangered.  The good news is according to FWS’s latest count, there are 113 lobos in the wild, which is an increase from previous years.  The bad news is that 14 wolves were found dead- some illegally poached– in 2016, making last year the record holder for the most lobo deaths since their reintroduction in 1998.  

More Bad News for the Lobo:

Genetic Diversity

Every lobo that exists in the wild is a descendant of the seven wolf survivors that started the captive breeding program in the late 1970s.  This means that all the wild wolves are closely related and genetic diversity is very low.  Consequently, their ability to adapt to changing conditions is extremely limited.  Reports of unusually small litters and genetic abnormalities have resulted from the inbreeding.  Until more wolves are released into the wild, these problems will continue, which leads us to our next problem.  New Mexico secured an injunction last year, giving them the power to stop FWS from reintroducing anymore Mexican wolves into the wild.  FWS is in the process of appealing that decision.  Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance have all filed to intervene in the case.  

S. 368

Last month, Senator Jeff Flake (AZ-R) introduced S. 368 , a piece of legislation that could drive the Mexican gray wolf to extinction.  The bill would authorize states, the livestock industry, and other special interest groups to dictate the terms of the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, rather than scientists. It would set an arbitrary cap on the number of wolves in the wild and require removal (probably lethal removal) of all wolves over that number. It would ban wolves from areas scientists have identified as necessary to their recovery, like the Grand Canyon ecoregion and the San Juan Mountains. Worst of all, this bill would remove the Mexican wolf from the endangered species list once the terms of the politicized recovery plan have been achieved, even though they would still be biologically imperiled. This bill undermines the ESA by skipping the mandated delisting process required by Section 4 of the Act.

Social Intolerance

The Mexican gray wolf is victim to the same intolerance and scapegoating that other wolf species, as well as other carnivores, are subjected to.  In reality, wolves  are responsible for just a fraction of a percent (.2%) of livestock loss–less than that caused by illness, weather, or even dogs there’s no evidence they kill more  deer than needed to survive; and there is no statistical proof that they are a danger to humans.  All this fear rhetoric overshadows the awesome benefits of having wolves in our ecosystems.  Here are some examples: wolves keep prey populations healthy and even reduce diseases in hoofed mammals, like Chronic Wasting Disease.  They reduce overgrazing from deer and elk, which leads to decreased soil erosion and a stable environment.  They provide food and habitat for hundreds of other creatures, earning them the honorary title of keystones species.  And not to mention that tourism directly related to wolves near Yellowstone National Park contributes $35.5 million to local economies yearly.  Despite these and other benefits, social intolerance still persists and that contributes to a lack of political will.  

So, that’s the bad news.  The good news is that it’s Lobo Week and YOU are reading this blog and educating yourself on the rarest and most biologically unique subspecies of gray wolf in the world.  Right now, there are around 113 lobos in the wild that need your help!  Celebrate Lobo Week with me by sharing their story!

Want more ways to help?

  1. Share this blog with your friends and family.  Education is one of the most powerful catalysts.  And how can someone help if they don’t know there’s a problem?
  2. Educate yourself! Learn more about lobos from Lobos of the Southwest, Earthjustice, Defenders of Wildlife, and Wolf Conservation Center
  3. Join the movement by using the hashtag #LoboWeek on tweets and other Mexican gray wolf related posts this week.  You can find photos, graphics, and badges on the Wolf Conservation Center’s site.
  4. Do you happen to live in Arizona? If so, you are one of Senator Flake’s constituents.  Call him and say that S. 368 is bogus!
  5. Be an ally for wolves by joining ESC’s Species Guardians! You’ll be given the information, resources, and support you need to be a leader for wolves in your state!
  6. Tell your community that it’s Lobo Week by writing a letter to the editor and submitting it to your local paper.  Make sure to include why wolves are important to you.

Passionate folks like you and me are the only thing standing between the lobo and extinction.  Make Lobo Week 2017 count.  Join the movement and get involved!

PS. Please also read this feature story (The Lobo’s Lament) from Earthjustice and Wolf Conservation Center.

Mexican wolf photos credit USFWS

Stay Informed!

94 comments on “Because #LoboWeek: A Brief Look at the Plight of the Mexican Gray Wolf

  1. Please allow all the endangered Species and other wildlife to live free and have their families
    just like we humans do. Do not kill them.

  2. Dear people, i feel so deeply concerned about theadmitting to kill the Mexican Wolves. They are so beautiful and belong to all of us. Not only people where this wolves. But all people all over the world. We have to take care of these beautiful creatures instead of killing them. Think of what will happen nature when we go on killing and killing and killing? SAVE THOSE LOBOS. PROTECT THEM.

  3. When Aldo Leopold saw that “green fire” go out when he watched a wolf die, it changed him forever.

    Please make sure that green fire doesn’t go out forever, save the Mexican wolf.

    1. greed corruption I cannot stand right wingers. They are the fringe lunatics that now hold office. If it lines their pockets, they are for it.

  4. Give me a sane reason why the attack on the Endangered Species Act? What does slaughtering these defenseless beautiful animals do for Republicans? I am so tired of the unmerciless continuous murdering and wiping out of these animals native to these states, and the ridiculous unscientific and untrue reasons stated for killing them, even in refuges set up to insure their safety and procreation. Keep the hunter out of the refuges, off of Federal land my taxes pay for, protect the Endangered Species Act and secure the safety of our harassed wildlife.

  5. why do we feel a need to get rid of all wild animals? every creature big or small has a reason for being here to keep balance in nature…

    1. because…. we the humans are a bunch of ignorants and destroyers of everything that we must conserve for our own good.?

  6. We need to appreciate the beautiful and environmental needs that this animal brings to our
    country. Love the Lobos.

  7. Wolves are essential. The help keep the natural balance and make the earth healthy. Please end the war on wolves.

  8. Mankind must protect animals in our environment. They are creatures of God and deserves Man’s protection and compassion. This is a Pro-Life and Pro-Choice issue. Choose to protect.

  9. “Any creature born in any region deserves, merely by the birthright of its evolutionary success, to live and thrive in its native habitat.”

  10. Mankind must protect animals in our environment. They are creatures of God and deserve Man’s protection and compassion. This is a Pro-Life and Pro-Choice issue. Choose to protect.

  11. sadly, all of this “sick” legislation to exterminate by any means, animals of all types, ignores the only real danger to the environment and that is “humans”.

  12. I’m sharing this information with my friends and family that live in Arizona and N.M. Unfortunately, so much is at risk in this present political climate, endangered species as well as our fragile environment.

  13. Kill a wolf and I will kill you back,that’s especially for you Trump!Give wolves their protections back,what’s one more executive order?Do it before you have a heart attack!

  14. All animals are important or they would not have been created. We should protect all animals, including the Mexican Gray Wolf. Each animal is essential to our environment. Please do not destroy these wolves.

  15. I am an animal lover and speak for them. Wolves are important for a well balance environment. The Nature needs them and , more important, we need them . The humans can’t extinguish the wildlife. This is what is happening. I am afraid that soon no more wildlife will be on Earth.

  16. Protect the Mexican grey wolf and all wolves. They are critical to our environment.
    Senator Flake’s ruling is wrong….  Call him and say that S. 368 is bogus!

  17. The wilderness is not a renewable resource. If it is possible for humans and wildlife to coexist, we must endeavor to understand as much as possible about their needs to minimize negative impacts.

    “We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.” ― Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

  18. It’s so sad to see how much disregard and disrespect us humans show about life and living creatures.
    How neglectful and destructive we are, ravaging land and ecosystems, pushing many species into extinction.
    When will we change?

  19. Every single one of God’s precious species is important in the chain of life and was created for a divine purpose. Human beings do not have the right to destroy anything that the Lord created for our own convenience s and prejudices.

  20. How can people be so cruel to wolves! I am not a resident of Arizona but beg Senator
    Flake to reconsider his position.

  21. I find it sad and disgusting how Humanity does not care about the other creatures that are on the face of this Earth and how we utilize manipulate and Destroy them

    1. It is saddening that every time man and animal cross paths it is the animal that pays the price with its life. No one has bore this burden as much as wolves. If anything happens from a drop in the elk population to a missing sheep, the wolf is always the first one blamed. It is time to honestly look at this scenario and give wolves a break.

  22. We must protect the Mexican Grey Wolf and all wolves. They are critical to our environment.
    Senator Flake’s ruling is wrong…. Call him and say that S. 368 is bogus!

  23. We should continue to protect the endangered Wolves and utter endangered animals. The diversity of different animals makes our world more fun and more interesting

  24. descending rapidly is the inhumanity towards all of creation
    without thought of the yet to come children who would be
    deprived of the once bountiful wildlife that infuses the awe
    of the miraculous spirit of the natural world.

  25. What we do to wildlife we ultimately do to ourselves. We are all connected and in need of preserving the web of life. Preserve all life and do not destroy any part of it as by destroying the parts we destroy the web of life.

  26. Instead of picturing Wolves as destructive they should picture Man as he is 100 times more destructive than wolves.

    1. I agree 100 percent with you. . . .it is always mankind that throws off the balance of Nature. Mother Nature does it best. . . Every species of wildlife depends and benefits from every other species of wildlife. It is disgusting and sickening what humans do to our wonderful and precious wild animals.

    2. We should protect all animals, including the Mexican Gray Wolf. Each animal is essential to our environment. Please do not destroy these wolves. Every living creature has a reason for being and we must respect the reasoning…

    3. Yes, by at least a 100 times. A virus or bacteria will take care of humanity. It is unfortunate but the smallest creatures are the ones that will mow humans down. Why? The more people the more chance for disease. The Earth will always find balance and 7 billion plus people consuming resources, land, water, food, air, is what the unbalance is all about. The way humans spread out is the same basic way cancer spreads out. urban sprawl is something that also kills our fellow creatures. They buy new houses which are the worst houses to buy for these are bought and fuel demand for more land destruction!

  27. Predators are needed. In the northeast, where I live, the lack of predators has resulted in an overabundance of deer, which invade gardens in search of food and spread the infamous lime disease. I wish we had wolves here, and mountain lions, as it used to be. Predators bring balance to the ecosystem, without the interference of humans of course. We humans are the problem when we interfere in the natural food chain. I hope the bill S.368 doesn’t get passed and we give the lobo a chance to survive.

  28. A part of my soul, a part of every human beings soul will be lost if we ALL do not come together and fight for every Wolf and ALL WILDLIFE. They have a right to live in peace. This is NOT natural selection.

  29. We have to save these animals. To many species have become extinct because of peoples greed and callousness. How can we call ourselves humans if we are not humane. We are the most dangerous animal in this world. We are destroying are selves by the destruction we perpetrate against nature and its creatures..

  30. why do we feel a need to get rid of all wild animals? every creature big or small has a reason for being here to keep balance in nature…

  31. Why do we feel the need to exterminate all animals that do not conform to our idea of placid animals. We all share the same planet, should we exterminate any animal that does not meet our ideas of an animal that is not frightened by humans. We are the preditors not them, they live like they always have. In Britain we have a problem with foxes, but we have taken over their habitat, hence urban foxes. They just live where they used to, regardless of whether it is in a town or country. WHY DO US HUMANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ANIMALS THAT WERE HERE BEFORE US. We are supposed to be the superior species, I wish. We are the aggressors.

  32. This can’t continue. Wolves are predators. They play vital roles in the ecosystems. But they need federal protection. And they also are essential. Please don’t wait. Take action now, before it’s too late.

    1. totally agree. If the politicians, ranchers etc want to slaughter every animal for no good reason other than they can not sell them why don’t we declare open season on them.

  33. Please protect the wolves. They belong on this earth as much as the humans.
    Otherwise God wouldn’t put them on this earth.

    1. Yes, they do! The U.S. is lagging way behind due to all its torture and killing of animals that goes on 24/7! Sadly, it is very much political. And the power brokers throw their weight around to get much of our wildlife decimated! Ranchers and hunters have our govt. In their hind pockets! It is a national disgrace and s tragedy!!!

  34. save any tyoe of nimal, wild or domesticated. seems like more so than in previous years, humans are not happy in far to many cases, if they do not have some animal on the run. the kicker is we as a society ere and around the world wait for almost extinction (rhinos, elephants, bison, wolve) and then we act to save, but in far to many instancesmsuch as these lobos illustrate, 20-30-40 years down the road ones we have saved somehow we look to put on the road to extinction again. we better watch our step, some force may put us on the road to extinction, down the road. wise up people.

  35. Intolerance from unreasonably persistent cultural enmity toward wild, self-willed lives other than human, is the broad problem.
    Even though Idaho studies showed that elk were reduced by forest succession – the changes that occur from forest fires to grass & forbs, to brush, young trees of various species, and finally maturing forest, which is NOT elk preferred habitat. They are creatures of earlier successional stages, naturally moving to those . They were NOT reduced by wolf return to areas from which they had been extinguished by gunfire, poison, snaring and trapping for a century.

    Yet, euroamerican hunters have brought some highly fallacious reasoning to North America, including that of presuming that wild organisms are somehow “property” of either individuals or states.
    Wolves teach that all is change, at every moment from eating, depositing nutrients, turning prey into winter fur. Even lives are evanescent phenomena, whether it is wolf disappearing when spotting a human or elk retreating over ridges in response to gunfire. We are animals, traveling over land, present anywhere for short moments. We can own nothing, really, but only change things around us in constant action.

    A wolf walking elicits change in all others. Mobility allows for a diversity now too foreign to sedentary builders of monument and cement. But that attempt at freezing the constant change that is life is fiction. for an introduction pick up “the World Without Us”, Alan Weisman’s 2007 look at what happens to human edifices in a few years or centuries. I’ve stood among the oldest, the tallest, the greatest trees on earth, which have individuals who have lived since before men have written of their knowledge. Over a hundred generations exceeded by one individual. Here in the west I have heard men claim “tradition” when I alone knew a man born before their ancestors arrived in 1850, before genocide toward the native wolf began. A long and a medium lifetime, tradition?
    I don’t think so.

    In today’s letter to the editor I spoke of irrational fear and ignorance promoting exclusion, extermination, violence. In states where these characteristic motivators have caused election of the worst icons of human behaviors and ideations, public servants reflect the basest of our emotions, rather than the vitality that all life seeks and exhibits from birth.

    I learn of molecular and hormonal processes through which all animals live, and even though I understand the maps, chains, circuits of arousal, cognition, and change, I cannot understand intransigence and a life lived in immobile fear.
    It is still up to each individual to model and pursue resilience and awareness, so that we each learn. This is the attribute supposed of animals, and without it, an individual decays, as immobly dead as they might wish other beings.

    Don’t elect anyone whose primary motivator is fear of loss, from which greed arises. For health and life, don’t consort with or validate those who choose the death of others as an answer.

  36. These beautiful predators are a keystone species in their ecosystems, and the data show that the entire ecosystem will benefit from having their numbers restored. (See the Yellowstone Park data) All is interconnection in an ecosystem, and balance is achieved by Nature if we do not interfere. Please respect our animal brothers and sisters. We are their only hope.

  37. Humans are the most dangerous animal on the planet. We are the only animal that kills just for the sake of watching life leave a body. WE should be culled, not the wolves.

    1. 100% agree, human are destroying the very earth they call home. Humans have lost the ability to have compassion and morals, the only thing that matters to most humans is money.

  38. It’s all about greed and stupidity!!!
    Too many of those in this world !!!!
    I’m so disgusted how animals are treated all over the world like they don’t have feelings or do not feel pain. Very sad !!!!

  39. Wolves are needed alive and well! We all must work to live side by side our wild predators! Stop all the attacks on our predators!

  40. Murdering a magnificent species like the wolf diminishes us all and will lead to very bad consequenses.

  41. The greed and lack of compassion of people make me sick. We need to protect these beautiful, intelligent animals. They have a right to live free and in peace. I don’t understand and it infuriates me seeing people trophy hunting, it’s cruel , unnecessary and disgusting. People who trophy hunt are disturbed and lacking of any kindness, compassion or sensitivity

  42. What is just is just. What must be done must be done. What is just must be done. What is just and undone shall take its toll from those responsible, through action, or through inaction. So it is. So it was. So it always will be. May it be that you have the wisdom to do what is just.

  43. Man must stop the killing of animals that are considered by a few to be a nuisance. Americans for God’s sake stop the killing.

    1. The Mexican gray wolf does not even harm livestock populations, and they are needed for the landscape. Therefore they do only good. They are gorgeous, noble, etihical, creatures of this earth. Why slaughter them??

  44. “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

    1. Touche” The real solution is reining in the human population. Birth control should be taught worldwide, in every school and again prior to being wed. Sex offenders should be held responsible for their actions. Kids should see how their meals come into being, from birth to slaughter and/or preferably, from seed to harvest.

      We’ve encroached upon nature for far too long and we’ll pay a heavy price if we don’t change our ways. There’s a delicate balance that’s been unraveled by man…and there’s precious little time to make things right again. Species are dying off at alarming rates!

      We should know better, as we were meant to be stewards, not pillagers and plunderers.
      It’s high time the meek stand up and stop the continued assault, by lobbyists and those they support, on the innocent, voiceless creatures they consider “sub-species”.

      While we’re at it, lets stop them from fouling our land, air and water as well. Together and mindfully, We can make whole the earth again, this precious gift God gave us. Namaste’

    2. red wolves – all species’ of wolves – are vital and essential to the healthy balanced functioning of the larger ecosystems across continenests. Our earth is small; our natural resources are precious, they sustain our very existence.

    3. Wow, that is putting it all into perspective, humans have got it all so wrong, we are destroying the balance of nature, destroying our planet and destroying ourselves in the process.
      I am ashamed to be part of the human race sometimes.
      bleating about it is useless so we need to (quietly) make others around us aware and educate our children to respect nature , the environment and themselves.
      get out there and do something worth while instead of playing computer games and tweeting stupid nothings.
      We still have time………

  45. The only barbaric beasts are humans, they destroy every single life on Earth unknowing they are killing themselves

  46. It makes me sick to think that I am a part of the human race when all I want is to be a part of the humane race

  47. It makes me sick to think that I am a part of the human race when all I want is to be a part of the humane race please leave these magnificent creatures alone

  48. Much Gratitude to the 4-leggeds for being willing to hold up the mirror to the rest of us, to remind us that we are only harming ourselves…. May All Living Beings be honored so that All Life can continue to evolve into the consciousness of harmlessness…!

    1. “As you know,
      We are all part of the Great Cycle of things.
      And so magnificent and divine and harmonious is this Universe,
      That it’s still a Great Mystery!”
      — Ted Williams, Tuscarora Elder, from the Prelude to the Thanksgiving Address

  49. The earth belongs as much to Animals as it belongs to Human Beings! That, what is happening now, is a unforgivable crime and war against all Living ! Human Beings shall not go and be every where, but respect the territories and spaces of Wildlife that they need for moving around. All Wildlife was given by Nature their purpose to be and human beings just need learn once again how to live with them and to respect them as living and feeling Beings with soul just like the specie Human beings too !!! The businesses have no right to misuse huge grounds and homeland of Wildlife for mega playgrounds nor for businesses to produce things that end up in only few years as waste. The minerals and oil in the ground belongs to all citizens and not to the oil and mineral billionaires, who need to give more then 50% of their winnings to the citizens (medicare, hospitals and schools) – and to the Indians an extra bonus!!!

  50. Wolves must be defended from the abusive and interfering human activities. FUR TRADE IS CRUELTY AT ITS WORST

  51. Quite informative this article is. By making this article, I learned the existence of these wolves and their current state. They need to be set free since they’re quite smart enough to maintain their needs along side with nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wolf in Yellowstone in snowy environment with forested background
Help Stop Extinction

Protect endangered species

Your gift helps the Endangered Species Coalition protect wolves and other endangered species from the growing threats of habitat loss, climate change, and over exploitation.