Mexican gray wolf numbers reach a new high

[anvplayer video=”5166086″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There has been a significant increase in the Mexican gray wolf population. The latest count from officials indicates a 23% increase over the last year.

During the 20th century, the Mexican gray wolf was on the brink of extinction. However, that changed in the ’90s when U.S. officials reintroduced the endangered species back to the Southwest.

“Wolves were completely extirpated from the wild and the southwestern United States,” said Brady McGee, Mexican wolf recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We started establishing wolves in the wild in 1998.”

In a new survey, officials found the population of Mexican gray wolves has doubled since 2017.

“At the end of 2022, we documented a minimum of 241 wolves surviving in the wild throughout southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona,” McGee said.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the population has grown. Although conservation and recovery efforts played a huge part in protecting the wolves, officials are pointing to other challenges.

“Wolves will eat livestock,” McGee said. “There will be conflicts when wolves are around livestock, but we have a number of tools in our toolbox to reduce those conflicts. We’re trying to recover the Mexican wolf with a really balanced approach when it comes to offsetting impacts to the livestock industry.”


  • A minimum of 59 packs were documented at the end of 2022 – 40 in New Mexico and 19 in Arizona. A wolf pack is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established home range.
  • A minimum of 121 pups were born in 2022, with at least 81 surviving until the end of the year – a 67% survival rate. The average survival of Mexican wolf pups in their first year is around 50%.
  • A minimum of 31 breeding pairs (20 in New Mexico, 11 in Arizona) was recorded in 2022. A breeding pair is defined as a pack that consists of an adult male and female and at least one pup of the year surviving through Dec. 31.
  • There were 109 collared wolves in the wild at the end of the year, which is 45% of the wild population.