Wolves in Mexico. There are several Mexican wolf reintroduction programs which are attempting to release the wolves back into the wild.
The Mexican grey wolf is the smallest of the grey wolf species. They tend to grow no longer than 59 inches (150cm) long and 32 inches (80cm) high making them a much smaller than other wolves.
The Mexican wolf habitat was originally very different to what it now is. They used to live in deserts which stretched from central Mexico into Texas. However during the 20th century people began to kill off the Mexican wolf population as they were seen as a threat to domestic livestock.
So many wolves were killed during this time that by the 1950s the grey wolf population no longer existed in the wild. Attitudes towards the species began to change in 1976 when the wolves were declared an endangered species. The fact that they were in danger of extinction was recognized and they began to be protected in wildlife shelters in both America and Mexico.
Once in these centers, the wolves began to be put into breeding programs to try and ensure that the population did not die out completely. Following the success of this these programs, officials began to address the issue of reintroducing them into the wild.
There are several Mexican wolf reintroduction programs which are attempting to release the wolves back into the wild. However reintroduction to the wild is not free from difficulties since wolves that have lived in captivity differ greatly from those who have lived in the wild.
For example, wolves that have lived in the wild are accustomed to hunting and fending for themselves while those that have lived in captivity are more accustomed to having their food brought to them. The captive wolves must be trained in living without outside interference and gain the skills to live on their own.
Despite this challenge the first wolves were re-released into the wild in 1998 and since then more than 50 wolves have been released into the wild. Now, although the species is not extinct they still remain endangered. Importantly, the territory which they now inhabit is nowhere near the size it was which they previously occupied. At present, the species either lives in captivity or in the Apache National Forest in Arizona.
Although the Mexican grey wolf remains endangered, we can hope that these rehabilitation efforts will prove successful and that this unique species will once again roam freely throughout Mexico.