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Mexican Wolf Facts

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The Mexican gray wolf, Canis lupus baileyi, is the most genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf. Of the five North American subspecies, the Mexican wolf is the smallest in size. Since the Mexican wolf was extirpated before scientific research was conducted, much of what was initially learned about them was through trappers' journals. A typical Mexican wolf is about 5 1/2 feet long, from snout to tail, weighs from 60 to 80 pounds, and has a coat which mixes the colors buff, gray, red or black. Like all wolves, the Mexican wolf communicates using body language, scent marking and vocalization. Typical prey for Mexican wolves consists of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, javelina, jack rabbit, cottontails and smaller mammals.

Commonly called "lobo" by Spanish-speaking people, the Mexican gray wolf has all but disappeared from its historic range in the southwestern United States and throughout Mexico. Predatory controls from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s made it the rarest gray wolf in North America. By the late 1970s, the Mexican gray wolf had virtually disappeared in the southwestern United States. It was listed as endangered on the federal endangered species list in 1976.