AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Mexican Wolf once ranged across much of West Texas, but its population has fallen in recent years. A new non-profit is hoping to fix that issue.

The wolves were last reported in the state in the 1970s. The wolf, a subspecies of the Grey Wolf, were killed off after “a century of persecution, poisonings, trapping and a great deal of ignorance”, according to mexicanwolves.org.

In recent years, conservationists have been pushing for the restoration of this species. In the 1990’s, Mexican Wolves were released into the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico. Now people want to release them into Big Bend National Park.

KXAN’s Rich Segal spoke with Hope Carr from the Texas Lobo Coalition about the push to restore the Mexican Wolf population. You can read the interview below to learn more.

Rich Segal, KXAN News: We’re gonna be talking about the Texas Lobo Coalition, as well as the Mexican Wolf. Tell me about the Texas Lobo coalition.

Hope Carr, Texas Lobo Coalition: We are a newly formed nonprofit organization. We officially formed in June of 2021. Our mission is to restore the Mexican Wolf and to part of its historic range in West Texas. And it no longer currently resides there. The Mexican Wolf, its historic range was in a good portion of the Southwest United States.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have a negative association with apex predators, such as wolves. So they were hunted to the point of practically extinction in the wild. They’ve been successfully reintroduced in a small management area in New Mexico and Arizona. But unfortunately, they’re not back in Texas yet. And we would like to see that happen.

Segal: Are you doing this alone as the coalition are you collaborating with others in this effort?

Carr: Our goal is to collaborate with anyone that has interest in being involved, as well as people who are concerned like landowners, ranchers.

We would like to make sure that they are comfortable with the idea of restoration, as well as other organizations that may have interest in reintroducing other species of animals.

Segal: I understand there are ecological benefits?

Carr: I think a lot of people are familiar with the restoration of grey wolves in Yellowstone. And that was back in the mid 90s. And the effects of that were, I think, greater than what people thought it may be.

By having an apex predator, you’re controlling deer populations that can ultimately make them healthier. It can decrease the likelihood of chronic wasting disease as the deer populations go down, plant populations bounce back, and that actually helps other animals thrive as well.

Segal: Now, is there any way that the general public can help you in this effort?

Carr: Talk to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, talk to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Talk to your government officials and just let them know that this is something that you’re interested in.