The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been actively involved in reintroducing Mexican wolves to portions of their historical range for many years.
In the 1980s, the reintroduction effort focused mainly on public processes necessary to reach a decision for or against reintroduction.
Management activities during the 1990s included public opinion surveys, public meetings, site feasibility studies and surveys along both sides of the Mexican border for naturally occurring wolves.
In addition, there was intensive coordination with cooperating agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the USDA Forest Service.
As a result of these activities and a Federal mandate from the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a Federal decision was made to release captive Mexican wolves in east-central Arizona.
In March 1998, 11 captive-reared Mexican wolves were released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA) in eastern Arizona. Additional releases have occurred since the initial release.
With the birth of the first wild-born litter from a wild-born parent in 2002, the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project entered into a new phase, whereby natural reproduction began to replace reintroductions from captive populations.