Mexican Gray Wolf Biology

A Mexican wolf looking straight ahead.

Mexican gray wolves are about the size of a German shepherd.
Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Mexican gray wolf is the smallest, rarest, and southern-most occurring wolf in the United States. Once numbering in the thousands, Mexican wolves were eliminated from the U.S. landscape by 1970. Many factors contributed to their demise, including habitat alteration and eradication efforts aimed at protecting livestock and game species. The Mexican gray wolf was reintroduced into the eastern Arizona portion of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area beginning in 1998.

Mexican wolf pups.

Mexican wolves live in packs of two to eight animals, consisting of a mated pair and their offspring.
Photo Courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

A wolf pack has a home range of up to several hundred square miles, enough space to meet their needs for food and cover. As a pack, the wolves hunt prey including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, javelina, rabbits and other small mammals. They also scavenge dead animals, and can kill livestock.

Mexican wolf puppy.

Mexican Wolf pairs are most likely monogamous. Females give birth to up to four to six pups in April or early May.
Photo Courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

All the wolves initially released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (not including translocations) are captive-bred. Since they have not lived in the wild, it may take them awhile to learn to hunt for their own food. The current population includes both released wolves and their wild-born offspring.