The so-called recovery plan for the Mexican Grey Wolves is not working. There are only 59 remaining Mexican Grey Wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. They are facing extinction!
Mexican Wolves or "Lobos" are the smallest, rarest and most distinct subspecies of western wolves, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for no good reason, lists them as just another population of grey wolves. These wolves even have a distinct DNA.
In late October, 2012, the USFWS had an opportunity to create a new paradigm for Mexican Grey Wolf recovery in the Southwest, which the Agency chose not to do. It did not change the classification of the Mexican Grey Wolves from "experimental nonessential" designation. This designation is a farce no wonder recovery is failing. Further, the Agency has not released into the wild any of the 300 captive Mexican Grey Wolves nor increased the allotment of land for the Lobos. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s passivity is not allowing recovery of these wolves. The wolves do not stand a chance of recovery because their population is too small for successful breeding. Releasing wolves directly into New Mexico... where the best remaining habitat exists...is critical to quickly boosting numbers and gene diversity in the wild population. For bureaucratic reasons the USFWS won't do it, citing an outdated rule that prevents direct releases into New Mexico.
The Agency is taking the position that ranchers’ cows, allowed to roam on public lands, are more important than this very rare wolf, for which there is very little documentation of depredation. The Agency has refused to vigorously protect these wolves from poachers and trappers and expand their recovery area to provide existing wolf packs with more room to roam. Even the Forest Service has refused to support the need to increase the wolves’ habitat. Increasing these grazing allotments in the recovery area is another one of the most important actions to recover Mexican wolves.
Government management has deteriorated to the point that in 2012, the organization Wild Earth Guardians had to sue for permitting trapping in the Mexican Wolf range.
The Endangered Species Act specifically allows for protection for separate subspecies of animals, and a separate listing would benefit the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery effort and chart a new course for Mexican Wolf Conservation in the Southwest. The current classification of the Mexican Grey Wolves of experimental nonessential is ludicrous! Elevating the lobos’ status to essential would strengthen recovery efforts by prioritizing wolf conservation over other, potentially conflicting land uses and outlandish practices like indiscriminate trapping in the wolf recovery area.