This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first Mexican wolves being reintroduced into the wilds of the United States. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released its annual count of lobos in New Mexico and Arizona.

There are now at least 241 wolves in the Southwest. A quarter-century ago, there were zero. We should celebrate this recovery effort. However, a ton of work remains to truly help lobos recover.

Numerous lobos did not survive to be counted this year. Among them are members of the Seco Pack. The pack, the first wild wolves released from the Ladder Ranch, was blamed for livestock losses in a conflict-ridden grazing allotment in the Gila in 2021. In 2022, fear-stoking politician, former Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, called for the entire pack to be killed. Fortunately, the Forest Service refused.

Chris Smith was born and raised in Northern New Mexico. As the Southwest wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians, he works to protect and restore native wildlife throughout the American Southwest.

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