The two Mexican gray wolves pictured above remind me of my favorite wolf story, recounted by Barry Lopez in his 1978 book Of Wolves and Men.
Before a wolf was brought into their classroom, a group of grade-school children were asked to draw pictures of wolves. The wolves in the pictures all had enormous fangs. The wolf was brought in, and the person with him began speaking about wolves. The children were awed by the animal. When the wolf left, the teacher asked the children to do another drawing. The new drawings had no large fangs, They all had enormous feet.
Once native in portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico, Mexican gray wolves, or lobos as they are called in Spanish, are critically endangered with only about 75 living in the wild. Rebecca Bose, curator at the Wolf Conservation Center, gives us a closer look at these wolves in her photographic essay.
Fifteen years ago the first lobos were reintroduced in Arizona. Today, proposed changes to the rules governing the recovery effort may help their numbers increase. According to this article in the Santa Fe New Mexican from a few days ago, the new deal would allow the wolves to be released directly into New Mexico for the first time and they would also have more room to roam.
If all goes as planned, we New Mexicans will be more likely to hear the howl of wolves in our state once again.