Fact Sheet
Mexican Gray Wolf

Success Stories

Getting Rid of the “Three Strikes” Rule

In 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed its partner agencies to develop a “three strikes and you’re out” rule for Mexican wolves, meaning wolves that were known or suspected to have killed livestock on three separate occasions during a one-year span would be permanently removed or killed, regardless of their genetic value to the species or the dire straits of the population. In 2008, Defenders filed suit challenging this policy and in November 2009 the Service agreed to end this practice.

“Where’s El Lobo?”

For two weeks in September 2011, Defenders ran a “Where’s El Lobo?” scavenger hunt in Tucson, Arizona, working with artist Lauren Strohacker, who created her (No)where Now(here) project to raise awareness of the lobo’s plight. Fifty beautiful art silhouettes, representing the 50 Mexican wolves that were currently in the wild, were placed in various locations around the city and more than 120 people participated in searching for the artwork. Many sponsors and partners contributed prizes for the contest and the grand-prize winner received a 6-day, 5-night Apache Wilderness Journey ecotour that provided an opportunity to see or hear Mexican wolves in the wild.

Sharing our Expertise

In 2011 Defenders of Wildlife joined the Mexican Wolf Coexistence Council, a pilot program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aimed at finding innovative ways to support livestock producers’ efforts to live with Mexican wolves. Defenders is sharing our expertise, gained over many years of working with ranchers in the Northern Rockies and the Southwest, to help design new programs to help ranching and wolf recovery coexist.

Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Team

In 2010, Defenders of Wildlife was invited to joined the Mexican wolf recovery team, which was formed to update the 1982 recovery plan for Mexican wolves. A solid recovery plan, based in the best science, is essential to move the endangered Mexican gray wolf toward full recovery and delisting. The science subteam has done an exemplary job developing rigorous science-based criteria for Mexican wolf recovery.  It is now up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure that the full team meets to finish the other aspects of the plan – implementation steps, timelines and budgets.  The Service must move ahead rapidly to complete, publish and implement the recovery plan.

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Gray wolf, © Michael Quinton, National Geographic Stock
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