Mexican Gray Wolf
They are the smallest gray wolf subspecies in North America with adults averaging 5.5 feet nose to tail, weighing about 50-80 lbs, and standing 28-32 inches at the shoulder. Males are slightly larger than females. Their coats are a mix of gray, rust, brown, black, and off-white/ cream.
Mexican wolves hunt cooperatively to bring down prey animals usually much larger than themselves. This is accomplished primarily by chasing their prey often over large distances; however, hunting behavior and strategies likely vary depending on terrain, prey size, and availability.
In the wild, they have an average lifespan of 5-10 years, but in human care, they can live up to 15 years.
Generally, they breed in February and give birth in April or early May to four to six pups after a 63-day gestation period. Pups are born blind and helpless, so adult subordinates in the pack will help raise offspring who will mature at 10 months of age.
- By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused their extinction in the wild. The Mexican Wolf Recovery Team was founded by the US Fish & Wildlife Services in 1979 and created the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan.
- As of 2021, current populations in the wild reached 186 wolves- a 14% increase from 2019!
As an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility, the Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to play a role in the conservation community through participation in Species Survival Plans, or SSPs. This means our Mexican Grey Wolves are part of a breeding program where we help to maintain captive populations that are both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
By visiting the Lehigh Valley Zoo and other AZA member institutions, you’re supporting the highest level of animal care and welfare, along with the promotion of conservation of animals such as the Mexican Grey Wolf.