Encyclopedia Article


The ancestor of modern dogs, a wolf is a carnivorous mammal that walks on all fours and hunts in groups known as packs. There are three species of wolves: Canis lupus (gray/timber wolf), Canis rufus (red wolf), and Canis simensis (Abyssinian wolf). Wolves are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and are members of the family Canid.

In the Southwest there used to be a subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). They were hunted out of existence in the wild in the 1970s, and the only surviving wolves were in zoos. In 1998, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced eleven Mexican gray wolves back into the wild and now the subspecies is slowly growing in number.

Photo Credit: 

"Eyes of the Wolf" by Doug Brown is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.