The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), also known as “Lobo,” is the smallest subspecies of the North American gray wolf. From prehistoric to fairly recent times, the Mexican wolf ranged from central Mexico to western Texas, southern New Mexico, and central Arizona. Mexican wolves were common throughout their range well into the 1800s. But by the mid-1900s wolves had been all but eliminated from the lower 48 states of the United States. The Mexican wolf is now one of the rarest land animals in the world.
This one might have a happy ending. March 4, 1997, was a historic day and a victory for wolf conservation efforts when Interior Secretary Babbitt signed the final record of decision approving the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf to Arizona and New Mexico. Over one year later three family groups of 11 Mexican wolves were released into the Apache National Forest in Arizona. By September 1999 there were 22 free ranging Mexican wolves living in the forests of eastern Arizona.