A Howling Triumph: Mexican Gray Wolf Wins ‘Rare & Ready to Be Saved’

It huffed, it puffed, and in the end, it blew away the competition.
Apr 8, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

The endangered Mexican gray wolf routed the northern hairy-nosed wombat 78 percent to 22 percent in the championship round of “Rare & Ready to Be Saved,” TakePart’s bracket game showcasing the work of Conservation International and Disneynature to safeguard imperiled animals and their diminishing habitats.

The northern hairy-nosed wombat’s Cinderella run—the underdog marsupial defeated the wild sand cat, the red panda, and the Asian tapir in the first three rounds to reach the title match—came to an abrupt end against the loping juggernaut that was the Mexican gray wolf. In four rounds, “El Lobo,” as the wolf is known, won by an average margin of victory of 52 percentage points.

The predator’s fictional victory added to its already stellar nonfictional year.

In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. Prior to the ruling, the carnivore was protected under the act but grouped in with the gray wolf, its larger relative, which mostly inhabits the U.S. Northwest.

While the new ruling expanded the land in the Southwest where federal officials can reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf, environmental groups were outraged that ranchers will still be allowed to kill any individual that is caught “biting, wounding, or killing” livestock or dogs on nonfederal land.

As part of a U.S. government–sponsored predator eradication effort, Mexican gray wolves were hunted to near extinction in the 1970s. Only the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973, spared the subspecies from almost certain eradication. Thanks to a captive breeding program, 109 wolves live in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona, according to an FWS census conducted in February.

No matter how you voted in “Rare & Ready to Be Saved,” every species in our bracket game was a winner. Because of your support, TakePart was able to donate $5,000 to Conservation International. The nonprofit will earmark the money to help protect endangered species in their native habitats.

Remember: Although our game is done, by no means are we done helping our planet’s rare and jeopardized species. So take the pledge below to only purchase sustainably sourced products that do not contribute to habitat construction.

“Rare & Ready to Be Saved” is a sponsored series produced in collaboration with Disneynature, its upcoming film Monkey Kingdom (in theaters April 17), and Conservation International. For every person who sees Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom during opening week (April 17–23, 2015), Disneynature will contribute $.20 per ticket to Conservation International through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $100,000. Information concerning Conservation International can be obtained, without cost, by writing to Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202. The ticket purchase is not tax deductible.