Mexican gray wolves: 16 Years and Still Struggling

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Contact: Courtney Sexton, 202.772.0253,


Mexican gray wolves: 16 Years and Still Struggling

On 16th anniversary of reintroduction, fate of lobos remains uncertain due to agency inaction

TUSCON (March 29, 2014) – Today marks the 16th anniversary of the start of Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts in the Southwestern United States. On March 29, 1998 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) released 11 Mexican gray wolves from captivity into the wild in Arizona as part of a program to reintroduce the imperiled wolves onto the landscape where they had been hunted, trapped and persecuted to near extinction. Today, these wolves, the world’s most endangered, are still fighting to survive. The Fish and Wildlife Service has suspended recovery planning and the lobos are still in grave danger.

The following is a statement from Eva Sargent, Director of Southwest Programs, Defenders of Wildlife:

“Sixteen years ago we were filled with hope for what we thought was going to be a new beginning for lobos in the U.S. But that hope is dwindling. Mexican gray wolves remain the world’s most endangered wolves, and our government is turning its back on the public’s plea to save them and ignoring the science that shows us how.

“Studies have proven that in order for lobos to survive and thrive in the wild, the Service must release more wolves from captivity, begin building two additional populations in areas of suitable habitat and implement a viable recovery plan immediately.

“What we can’t understand is why recovery continues to be stalled. After 16 years, and a great deal of scientific work, there is  no question about what must to be done to save the lobos – but today more than ever it seems that politics are trumping the needs of these imperiled and iconic wolves.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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