Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan Now Up for Public Comment

Mexican gray wolf | Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft of its recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, laying out the population benchmarks the agency believes will allow the species to be removed from the federal endangered-species list.

The public has until August 29 to comment on the draft plan, which is available online.

Mexican wolves currently exist in two populations: one in Arizona and New Mexico, and one in Mexico. Under the agency's draft plan, the species would be considered for downlisting (from "endangered" to "threatened") when either the U.S. population of wolves reaches 320 for four consecutive years, or the Mexican population reaches 170 for the same number of years. Both stipulations would be contingent on achieving genetic diversity through scheduled releases of captive-bred wolves.

Assuming genetic diversity is achieved, the draft plan also says the wolves could be downlisted if both populations average 150 wolves over four consecutive years "with a positive growth trajectory."

To be considered for removal from the endangered-species list entirely, both populations would have to hit those population benchmarks for eight consecutive years. Genetic diversity via captive releases would be required then, too.

The agency says it anticipates recovery of the Mexican wolves in 25 to 35 years. There were 113 wolves counted in the U.S. population in 2016; the Mexican population is still being established and is much smaller. The species nearly went extinct in the 1980s, and the wolves living today are descended from a captive breeding program of just seven animals.

You can read the entire plan at this link, and you can get information about commenting on the plan at this link. Wolves are always a controversial topic, so we advise you to read the entire plan, then make your voice heard by adding your input.


All I have to say is look how it went for other states... it's failed over and over again if you bring them back theit numbers I garuntee will get out of hand as they always do, they will destroy deer and elk populations and as a rancher it makes me sick you would bring an animal back that would kill more ranchers cattle in five years then mountain lions ever could... please I beg of you look at other states that tried this it won't work...

I am an Arizona native, a veteran, and a graduate of the U of A wildlife management program. I worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Mexican wolf project for over three years. I value the wolf and I am sorry to inform you that the entire USFWS managed Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is a disaster. I personally witnessed Federal employees commit serious Fourth Amendment Rights violations, threaten, harass, and intimidate residents, commit fraud, waste, and abuse, and engage the residents of Alpine and Nutrioso, AZ in an extensive and expensive cover-up operation to hide their crimes. The Mexican wolf program is broken, and everyone, including the wolf, suffers when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is permitted to operate outside of the law. Please use the open public comment period to tell the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leadership in D.C. that we have had enough of the Mexican wolf managers in Albuquerque. It is time to stop the lying and the cover-ups and the civil liberties violations and the harassment. It is time to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service!

Pretty serious allegations, I've been involved with Mexican wolf recovery in Az. for over 20 years. I've attended many public hearings and the biggest problem obviously is the illegal killing of these necessary predators. Fortunately the loophole allowing these criminals to get away with this has been closed providing for full accountability to those who have been found guilty. The US Fish & Wildlife Services record for saving species from extinction is outstanding and speaks for itself.

serious efforts need to be made to help the mexican wolf population increase & thrive, they are down to levels right now that may to be late to achieve this, please, this matter is serious, i was not born when the last known thylacine went extinct, & i wish that had never happened, i look at photos of them, & want to see one in the wild, extinction is forever, to happen at the hands of man is obscene. please increase your efforts for recovery, thank you

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