The end of year census for 2021 revealed a minimum of 196 Mexican wolves in the wild in the United States (84 in AZ and 112 in NM). This was only a 5% increase in the population from a minimum of 186 wolves counted at the end of 2020. There are approximately 40 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in Mexico. Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as pup mortality generally occurs in this period). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable.
There were 45 named wolf packs (17 in AZ and 28 in NM). There were a minimum of 25 breeding pairs (13 in NM, 12 in AZ). There were 92 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring, representing nearly 50% of the US population.