I’ll never forget staring into the eyes of a big male Mexican gray wolf.
Its piercing eyes reflected a wild lineage that roamed the Southwest until the white man moved in with guns, traps and poison.
This was early in my career and the animal resided at a captive breeding facility where remnants of the highly endangered subspecies were being bred for release into the wild.
I shot tons of photos but they were lost in Hurricane flood damage-along with many others.
Since that time there have been numerous releases in New Mexico and even pups born in the wild there.
So, when Jaclyn Booth sent me this photo I took notice because the animal looked very much like the wolves I had seen at the facility so many years ago.
The photo came through our “The Wildlife Journalist” Facebook and had no information on where it came from.
My thought was “Wow, thats a gray wolf, probably a Mexican gray wolf.”
I messaged her to find out what state the photo came from and when she said it came from her ranch in Hall County, TX I was in shock.
The photo below is a coyote from the same ranch and in fact at different angles of the same log. Compare this coyote and the canid in the above photo.
Now compare with this one of a Mexican gray wolf taken at the Alameda Park Zoo below. Notice the extreme likeness.
The Mexican gray wolf is indigenous to this part of the world but like all other representative of Canis lupus was wiped out due to government predator control and unregulated killing on ranches.
Is there a remnant pocket of these hailing from the captive breeding program in New Mexico? Or maybe a rogue wanderer?
It is possible but unlikely.
After all a gray wolf radio collared in Michigan was killed by a bowhunter in Missouri in 2001. That’s a much longer journey that New Mexico to Hall County, TX.
Is there a remnant pocket of Mexican gray wolves in North Texas and perhaps even in the Trans Pecos?
In 2013 I had a professional trapper who has trapped and killed thousands of coyotes tell me of seeing a Mexican gray wolf near Alpine, TX the year previous. He was adamant at what he saw.
Is there a possibility of having Mexican gray wolf-coyote hybrids (that maybe lean heavily on wolf appearance) in the region?
Absolutely. It has been proven that coyotes and gray wolves hybridize by numerous researchers.
I will be writing a lot about wild canids of the United States this year and will be posting photos, videos and research.
Are there Mexican wolves in Texas?
The jury is still out but on a ranch in Hall County there is definitely an animal that looks a whole lot like one.
More to come…
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Chester Moore, Jr.