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Three Legged Wolves Lead the Pack in New Mexico

In the wilds of New Mexico, the Mexican wolf is fighting to return from the brink of extinction. One of the most resilient packs being tracked by wildlife biologists for almost a decade is the Middle Fork Pack, which is led by a Tripawd alpha female and a Tripawd male!

photo courtesy of

According to Wild Earth Guardians, the Middle Fork gang is one prolific pack! These Tripawd pawrents reared seven of 30 puppies born into the wild during 2011 (up from just 18 pups that were born to Mexican wolves in 2010)!

photo courtesy of

These amazing Tripawd wolves lost their legs to steel traps left by cattle ranchers. Their amputations were performed by vets after biologists spotted their injuries. The wolves were humanely captured, operated on, then returned to the wild to continue to rear their pups.

Will these Tripawd Wolves Survive?

Thirty-three years after being listed as an endangered species, ” the Mexican gray wolf remains the most endangered mammal in North America and the most endangered subspecies of gray wolf in the world,” according to

photo courtesy of

After the federal government’s disastrous 1997 plan to capture Mexican gray wolves, breed them in captivity and return them to a resettlement area that encompasses 4.4  million acres (twice the size of Yellowstone National Park), their existence has been fraught with hostility by humans opposed to their return.

photo courtesy of Lobos of the Southwest

Nearly 95 percent of their habitat is located on public lands in the Gila and Apache national forests (where New Mexico’s largest fire in the state’s history is currently raging).

The Mexican wolf’s territory is also home to public cattle grazing lands, and the wolf’s return to the wild has not been popular with local ranchers.

Although steel traps have been outlawed for about three years, Mexican wolves are still the victims of mankind’s cruelties. Fear-laden ranchers who will shoot them on sight in order to avoid livestock losses, and the federal government will enact aggressive “wolf control” measures if a wolf is suspected of killing livestock — even though only 4 percent of a wolf’s diet consists of livestock (elk is their preferred delicacy).

To learn more about the Mexican wolf and what you can do to help these incredibly resilient animals survive, see:

Lobos of the Southwest: Wolf Tales
Howling for Justice: Three Legged Wolves
Wild Earth Guardians: No More Three Legged Lobos

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12 thoughts on “Three Legged Wolves Lead the Pack in New Mexico”

  1. I am just amazed that these amazing wolves are surviving on their own with only three legs! That is a sign of gods love towards life! These tripawds are lucky.

  2. Hi,Jerry. It’s me Goldenhero.Thanks for the reply. No, my Goldenhero went to heaven on July 5th 2011. He is now chasing leaves on four legs on God’s Holy mountain. Yeah, as a tripawd he enjoyed a very high quality of life. When the tme is right we will adopt another tripawd. I keep checking the rescue form for new available tripawds. Have a great summer!

    • These wolves are truly a reflection of Gods love for all to see. This story should be a inspiration for all. Let nothing get in the way of living a normal life.They just picked up where they left off. GOD BLESS THEM! Osteosarcoma (hate that word) stole my Golden Retriever’s front left leg two months before his 10th birthday. Three weeks after the amputation he was back to swimming the lake and chasing leaves that were blowing in the wind.

      • Bartsmom, that is so true, we should all follow the Tripawd Wolves example. We’re so glad to hear your pup is loving life again, give him a smooch for us!

  3. great story; I am so glad to see the biologists interfered and those beautiful wolves are thriving. Wonder how they were able to maintain their alpha status– they must have been released back after the amp very quickly- you’d think a young rival would take over while they were gone.

  4. So amazing! Definitely gives me hope for my new tripawd to be back out for runs in no time
    Emma, Sashas Mom

  5. Thank you for posting this! Really beautiful animals – so sorry that humans are so biased.
    Go tripawd wolves!
    Joanne & Lylee


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