Mexican Gray Wolf

Mexican Gray Wolf

Canis lupus

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Quick Facts

Body Length: Body: 4.5' to 5.5'; Tail length: 14" to 17"
Height: Males: 49 inches; females: 42 inches
Weight: 60-80 lbs
Distribution: Historic range: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico. Current range: re-introduced to areas in Arizonaand New Mexico
Habitat: Oak woodland, pint/oak woodland, pine forest; water source is necessary
Wild Diet: Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, javelinas, rabbits, and other small mammals; they readily scavance carcasses
Zoo Diet: Dry kibble, horse meat, beef knuckle bones, and shank bones

Mexican gray wolves are sexually dimorphic (2 distinct gender forms): males are larger than females. Mexican gray wolves can have various colorations: dark brown, cinnamon, tawny, cream, grizzled, and brindle. The backs of their ears and the sides of their body range from cinnamon to brown. Their face is usually white to cream, as are the underparts of their body. The back of their neck, their back, and the top half of their tail have a blanket of grizzled black with shades of brown. Mexican gray wolves vary in color depending on the region. Mexican gray wolf fur is long and thick, with 2 coat layers. Their undercoat is thick, trapping air, and provides insulation beneath the guard coat. The visible guard coat is long and protects their undercoat from getting wet. They shed excessively in early spring. Mexican gray wolves' ears are erect, rounded, and set on top of an impressive head that has a short, thick muzzle and a large nose pad. Their chest is deep and their legs are long, with large, strong feet that enable them to travel long distances, grip the terrain in all weather conditions, bury food caches, and dig burrows. They have 42 strong teeth and powerful jaws, which they use to hold their prey, cut tendons, and crush bones.

Status in the Wild

Mexican gray wolves were considered extinct in the wild until their reintroduction into Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. Killing a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act. Captive Mexican gray wolves are part of a captive breeding program under the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. Minimum population estimate in Blue Range Wolf Recovery area was 75 wolves, comprising 14 packs, and 47 wolves were radio-collared. Their biggest threat is conflict with livestock operations and other human activities.

Conservation Programs
  • The gray wolf is listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). However, IUCN does not distinguish among the 5 gray wolf subspecies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to consider the subspecies balleyi to be endangered.In 2011 the endangered species ban was lifted in 8 states, and 550 gray wolves were killed in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho in 2012.
  • CZS Conservation - Species Survival Plan
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