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Types of Wolves: Gray Wolf

© written by Tasha Guenther

Gray Wolf Subspecies: Mexican Wolf

Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf; Photographer, Becker;
used with permission under C.C. BY 2.0

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is sadly best known for being one of the most endangered subspecies of any animal on the planet. Before colonization (when European countries set up colonies in "new" territories) of what would become North America, Mexican wolves roamed what would become the southern states (Arizona, mainly) and Mexico in the thousands. Following colonization, the Mexican wolf population dwindled due to fear of these wolves, poaching for the thick, precious wolf pelts, and aggressive human encroachment on wolf territory and habitat.

Now, there is less than 100 of these wolves in the wild and less than 300 in sanctuaries or zoos.

Compared to the Eurasian gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf is incredibly small. At half the size of most other gray wolf subspecies, the largest Mexican wolves only weigh about 90 pounds at the most. In short, they are about the size of a German Shepherd dog.

Like other wolves, the Mexican wolf is a patient, steady hunter. It roams hundreds of square kilometres to find food, and often eats all of its prey (deer, hare, rabbit, elk, etc.)--this means the fur, the bones, the brains... yuck.

The commonly used name for the Mexican wolf is "lobo," which means... you guessed it... wolf.