The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team completed the annual year-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 114 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2017. This number includes 26 pups that survived to the end of 2017, accounting for an increase over the estimated 113 wild wolves in 2016.
The survey results come from on-the-ground population data collected by the Interagency Field Team (IFT) from November 2017 through January 2018, as well as from aerial surveys conducted in January and February of this year.
“While the 2017 numbers are not what we were hoping for, this is not the sole metric to measure progress in Mexican wolf recovery. The fact that cross-fostered wolves had pups this year is a major milestone and presents a mechanism to better manage genetics,” said Jim deVos, Assistant Director of Wildlife Management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Also encouraging is the substantial increase in the number of Mexican wolves that were equipped with monitoring collars that will greatly increase the management information that the IFT collects.”
“While 1998 seems like a long time ago, it is important to remember that there were no Mexican wolves in the wild just a few years ago, and yet today there are healthy, stable and increasing populations, marking progress toward recovery,” said deVos.
The results from the aerial survey, coupled with the ground survey conducted by the IFT, confirmed:
• There are a total of 22 packs, with a minimum of 51 wolves in New Mexico and 63 wolves in Arizona.
• One of four wolf pups cross-fostered in 2017 is confirmed to be alive and is radio collared.
• Twenty-four wolves were captured and radio-collared, including ten wolves that had not been captured previously.