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Mexican Wolf

Mexican Wolf
Canis lupus baileyi

Family:

Canidae, the dog family

Conservation Status:

Critically Endangered, IUCN; federally endangered in the U.S.A. and Mexico.

Distribution:

The southwestern United States and Mexico.

Habitat:

Arid grasslands, woodlands and forests

Factoid:

Long distance communication is by howling and scent marking. Close-up they communicate with facial expressions, body language and some vocalizations much like a domestic dog.

This is the smallest subspecies of Gray Wolf. An average female weighs 55 lbs. and a male 65 lbs. Their coat is various patterns of gray, sometimes with a reddish tinge.

A typical prey might be the tiny Couese white-tailed deer. They will take other prey, but their populations do not persist in the absence of these prey. Their predators are humans.

The basic wolf social unit is the pack, which hunts together and cooperates in raising young. The pack commonly consists of an alpha pair that forms a long-term bond. Wolves start breeding at two years of age and breed just once a year, usually in February or March. Typically 4-6 pups are born 63 days later in an underground den or natural shelter.

The natural behaviors of Mexican Wolves, however, are not well documented, but they are probably similar to other subspecies of the gray wolf. Some scientists speculate that they formed small packs and large territories.

By 1925 few Mexican Wolves were left in the U.S. By 1950 there were few in Mexico. The last Mexican Wolf recorded in the U.S. was in 1970 in New Mexico and Texas. The last recorded in Mexico was in 1981.

There are two reintroduced populations, one in the U.S. and one in Mexico. The wolves in the reintroduced populations are derived from the captive population held in 52 zoos in this bi national recovery effort. The management of the captive population is coordinated by The Living Desert.

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