Mexican gray wolf wild population tops 200

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 2:26pm

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Mexican gray wolf
Jim Clark/USFWS
A Mexican gray wolf.

For the first time in the 25 years since their reintroduction, the wild population of endangered Mexican gray wolves has topped the 200 mark.

“We went up 20% in a single year,” said Jim DeVos, the Mexican wolf coordinator for Arizona Game and Fish. “That’s a giant milestone in any type of endangered species recovery.”

The more than 241 wild wolves join around 380 housed in more than 60 facilities.

At the close of 2022 — the year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized changes to its Mexican Wolf Management Rule — counts showed at least 59 packs, 31 breeding pairs and 81 surviving pups.

“You get a lot of, ‘gee whiz,’ over the number of 242; to me, one of the more important numbers, or equally important, is the number of pups,” said DeVos.

The rise marks the seventh consecutive year of population growth.

The wolves and their management continue to be the subject of lawsuits from conservation groups and ranchers, and of controversy regarding livestock deaths.

Annual wolf mortalities dropped last year from the high 20s to 12, their lowest since 2017.

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