Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist Bailey Dilgard carries and alpha female wolf from a helicopter in Alpine, January 26, 2023 to hand her off to Pamela Maciel Cabañas, the sanctuary manager at the Wolf Haven International in Washington State. Photo Credit: Lydia Curry/Cronkite News

Animals USA7. March 2023

Hands-on Efforts to Bring Back the Wolves

A quarter of a century ago, a recovery program was set in place to save the Mexican wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico, the United States, from going extinct, and conservation efforts have gained momentum over the last six years.

“Every single day we have folks in the field, on the ground, monitoring the wolves, and actively working to be proactive,” explains Paul Greer, interagency field team leader for Arizona Game and Fish.

Launched in 1998, the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program started with 11 wolves raised in captivity and released in eastern Arizona. Today, that number is 196 – 84 are in Arizona and 112 in New Mexico – twice as many as six years ago when the 2015 annual count reached 98. Biologists are hoping for the momentum to continue this year. The Program’s goal is to have 320 wolves sustained for 8 years in the Mexican Experimental Population Area. Once the numbers are reached, the animal will no longer be on the endangered species list. Instead, it will be identified as a threatened species. Wolves are essential in keeping the ecosystem healthy as a predator of deer and elk, thus helping many plants and animal species to survive and thrive.

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