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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction and Management

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been actively involved in reintroducing Mexican wolves to portions of their historical range for many years.

In the 1980s, the reintroduction effort focused mainly on public processes necessary to reach a decision for or against reintroduction.

Management activities during the 1990s included public opinion surveys, public meetings, site feasibility studies and surveys along both sides of the Mexican border for naturally occurring wolves. In addition, there was intensive coordination with cooperating agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service.

As a result of these activities and a Federal mandate from the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a Federal decision was made to release captive Mexican wolves in east-central Arizona. In 1998, 11 captive-reared Mexican wolves were released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA) in eastern Arizona. Additional releases have occurred since the initial release.

With the birth of the first wild-born litter from a wild-born parent in 2002, the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project entered into a new phase, whereby natural reproduction began to replace the need to release captive-reared wolves.


  Learn More
  • For questions regarding the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project or to report a wolf sighting, please contact the Interagency Field Team Office in Alpine, Arizona.

  • Mexican Wolf Conservation - Commission Actions and Other Developments
  • Wolf howls recording [MP3, 2.8 mb] - Bluestem Pack, Oct. 2009


Status: The Mexican wolf is managed as a species of special concern in Arizona. In 1976, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as an endangered species. Although the reintroduced population in portions of Arizona and New Mexico is growing, supplemented by additional releases, human-caused and other mortality factors are jeopardizing population objectives.

As of the beginning of 2014, surveys showed a minimum of 83 Mexican wolves in the BRWRA. The number refelcts only those animals that were visually seen and biologists know more exist that were not counted. Approximately 300 additional wolves are being held in various captive-breeding facilities located throughout the United States and Mexico.

Management Needs: The Mexican wolf is an endangered-species rarity. Its major recovery needs are not habitat management and restoration. Rather, reintroduced wolves show that education and tolerance are the primary challenges to recovery. Education efforts to prevent people from mistaking wolves as coyotes and shooting them; increased law enforcement presence throughout the wolf recovery area; increased ability to investigate mortalities more effectively and pursue legal actions against those who intentionally, but unlawfully, kill wolves; and, greater driver awareness to reduce mortalities of wolves using roads as travel corridors are some of the actions needed to assist with wolf recovery. Adequate funding for wolf recovery and management, as well as education and outreach, is essential.

The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project is a cooperative effort between five co-lead agencies: Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These agencies utilize an adaptive management approach in Mexican wolf reintroduction efforts and activities that provides opportunities for participation by local governments, nongovernmental organizations and individuals from all segments of the public.

What's New!

Wolf Location Information


These pages last updated on 1/23/2015

Documents Open for Public Review & Comment

Comment deadline:

- None currently open
  To Submit Comment
  E-mail public comment to or address postal mail to Jon Cooley; c/o AZ Game and Fish Dept., 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop, AZ, 85935. The comment deadline is ---.
External Resources [More]

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Program


View annual Mexican wolf population statistics charts

2008 MW Reintroduction Project status summary [PDF, 76kb]
2008 MW population survey; FWS news release [PDF, 38kb]
FWS Mexican wolf fact sheet Southwest Region [PDF, 151kb]
FWS MW Reintroduction Project facts [PDF, 165kb]
FWS MW Reintroduction Project fact sheet for guides, outfitters and forest visitors [PDF, 108kb]
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