As 2020 draws to a close, a year filled with turbulence and unprecedented challenges for so many, it feels important to look to the new year with hope. To that end, I’d like to share a personal story that inspires me to continue to work for Mexican gray wolf recovery in the wild and to ask for your help in ensuring a future for these rare wolves.
I first saw a Mexican gray wolf in the wild more than a decade ago, but I will never forget the feeling of breathlessly holding the binoculars to my eyes as nine members of the Bluestem pack trotted across a field over a mile away. I was with one of the wolf biologists working with the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, and we had been scanning for radio collar signals when we picked up the signal from the matriarch of the pack. We quietly stood in the road scanning the tree line until we spotted them.
The wolves appeared to be so small at that great distance, but the image of several generations of the wolf family together, their freedom, their ease on the landscape that was their home, was immense in my mind. It may have been a brief and distant encounter, as the wolves silently moved through the clearing and back into the trees, but it is one of the reasons I have dedicated years of my life to wolf recovery in the wild.
Thinking about that wild wolf family, it is difficult to imagine that Mexican gray wolves were hunted and trapped to near extinction. It is hard to think about a world where they aren’t out there, trotting through the forests and fields of the Southwest. It still feels like a shock that, while we have successfully restored about 165 Mexican gray wolves to Arizona and New Mexico, they still face threats every day due to fear and lack of understanding.
The memory of seeing wild wolves drives me, but so does the worry of losing them forever. It is not often that we get a second chance in life. We have that chance with Mexican gray wolves, and we cannot afford to waste it.
A legendary wolf from the Bluestem pack, F1042, resurfaced in November 2020 after being missing since 2018. This wolf represents resilience, survival, and most importantly, hope, but she and her family still need our help.
Lobos of the Southwest has worked tirelessly to educate people and defend Mexican gray wolves since 2009. I’m honored to be part of this effort, to learn from each of you what wolves mean to you, and to share more stories of some of the wolves I have known. Most importantly, I’m counting on each of you to help us continue advocating for wild wolf families in the Southwest.
Wolves cannot speak at public meetings or write to members of Congress. Wolves cannot vote. Wolves cannot protest when they are taken from their homes or when their families are destroyed.
Wolves depend on each of us to raise our voices, to remember their histories, to safeguard their futures. I hope you’ll join me in ensuring that future is a wild one.
If you are able to make a tax-deductible donation, this will help us take important steps in 2021 to expand our efforts to protect wild Mexican gray wolf packs and educate people about their role in our environment. If you’d like to get more involved in our work, please use this sign-up form to tell us what kind of volunteer activities interest you.
2020 has been a year filled with tragedy, challenges to democracy and justice, and continued threats to our environment and to human and non-human communities everywhere. Please join us in making 2021 a new year, for all of us and for Mexican gray wolves.
Coordinator, Lobos of the Southwest