Also known as "el lobo", the Mexican wolf is the smallest subspecies of the North American gray wolf. Wolves live in family groups called packs. The wolf parents are the leaders of the pack, called the alpha pair. The rest of the group includes their sons and daughters and possibly a few other close relatives.
The wolf family eats, sleeps, travels, plays, and hunts together as a team. By hunting cooperatively, wolves can bring down prey much larger than themselves such as elk. While wolves may occasionally take down unprotected livestock, they much prefer wild prey. Once exterminated from the wild, Mexican wolves are being reintroduced into their former range in Arizona and New Mexico.
A wolf's howl can be heard more than five miles away.
A wolf's sense of smell is about 100 times better than a human's.
Dogs are descendents of wolves domesticated over thousands of years.
Where to see them: Wolf Woods
Height: 4.5 to 5.5 ft
Weight: 60 to 80 lbs
Lifespan: 12 to 15 yrs in captivity
Habitat: Mountain and forest
Diet: Elk, deer, peccaries, rabbits, rodents, and carrion
Risk Status: Species at Risk (Endangered—U.S. Endangered Species Act)
Myth Busted: Unlike the big, bad wolf in stories like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, wolves are actually shy and avoid people.
Reintroduction efforts organized through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Program are returning Mexican wolves to their former range in Arizona and New Mexico. Zoos, including the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, are helping by housing and breeding the wolves to be released.