Mexican gray wolves are one of the rarest animals in the world. But it wasn’t always that way.
The Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo,” once roamed in a large range from northern New Mexico all the way into Durango, Mexico.
Mexican gray wolves are smaller than their relatives to the north—the gray wolves that roam the northern Rocky Mountains and Midwest. Weighing in at 50 to 85 pounds, Mexican wolves are about the size of a German shepherd and are the smallest subspecies of the gray wolf in North America.
Lobos have a keen sense of smell, excellent hearing and highly sensitive vision. They are intelligent, family-oriented animals who live in family packs and maintain home ranges-or territories. They communicate through howling, body language and scent marking.
By the 1980’s, after a hundred years of people hunting wolves, only a few were left in northern Mexico. Thanks to scientists and people who care a lot about wolves, there are 163 known wolves in the wildlands of Arizona and New Mexico now. It took people like you to speak up and save the lobo!
Where do Mexican gray wolves live?
What do you notice about these pictures of places where wolves live?
Mexican wolves are found in a variety of habitats, including mountain woodlands and the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts. Lobos live in both the United States and Mexico, but the border wall stops them from crossing back and forth.
What do Mexican wolves eat?
Lobos kill and eat a variety of prey, including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and javelina. Mexican wolves are opportunistic, and will scavenge dead elk and deer, cattle carcasses and hunter gut piles during hunting season.
Have you ever tried to draw a wolf?
What are some words for “wolf”?
Apache – ba’cho
Dine – ma’iitsoh
Shiwi’ma – yuna:wik’o
Rarámuri – naribochi
Spanish – el lobo
French – le loup/la louve
Do you know others?
Most people know that wolves HOWL! But have you ever wondered how they learn to howl? The video below shows a dad wolf showing his pups how to do it when a chorus breaks out at Wolf Haven!
Wolves howl to communicate their location to other pack members and to ward off rival packs from their territory. Wolf packs spread out in search of food and howling can help them let the others know they found some. A wolf’s howl can carry up to 10 miles (16 km)! Can you think of something that is ten miles away and imagine yelling loud enough for it to be heard there!?
Scientists think that wolves may also howl with affection for another wolf! ♥♥♥
When scientists are out looking for Mexican wolves, they often look for paw prints in the dirt to show that a wolf was in the area. This is part of tracking. Use the picture below to draw your own paw prints. The picture shows the difference between a cougar and a wolf print. Cut them out and place them around your house or classroom to imagine a wolf traveling through on its way to find food or a place to den and have pups.
What name do you think would be good for a new Mexican wolf pup?
Come up with a good name and either draw a picture of the wolf or write a short description about why you think that would be a good name.
Get your teacher or parents to help send it in to our contest!