Although the recovery of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies has been pretty successful, recovery of the smaller, sub-species Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico, has been poor.
Ten years after they began to be reintroduced, there are only 6 breeding pairs in the two states, and as the article below states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be counting breeding pairs in a way that exaggerates the numbers.
The Service announced that at the end of 2006 there were 59 Mexican wolves and 6 breeding pairs. The 59 is, however, an improvement over last year when they estimated only 35 to 49 wolves in the wild. Back in 1996, the Service estimated that by now (ten years) there would be 18 pairs, rather than just 6 pairs.
The reasons for the lack of success are obvious. The most important is that the wolves are restricted to an artificial box of rugged country on the Arizona/New Mexico border and are not allowed to spread out as the Northern Rockies wolves were. There is not enough room in the box for very many packs, and the Service keeps trapping those that leave to re-imprison them in this administrative box consisting of nothing but lines on a map. In the process of reboxing the wolves, this year 8 wolves were unintentionally killed in events related to their capture.
Article Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Are Dangerously Low. E-wire.