NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – While the population of Mexican gray wolves has grown in New Mexico over the last decade, environmental advocates are worried about the population of wolves south of the border.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Center for Biological Diversity and others claim the population of Mexican gray wolves is “badly faltering” in Mexico.

The advocates point to a low number of remaining radio-collared wolves in Mexico, as revealed by a public records request they filed. They say the survival rates of wolves in Mexico are low.

“This should raise alarms at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Chris Smith, southwest wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians, said in a press release. “First, they cannot rely on another sovereign nation to recover imperiled species. And second, they need to do more at home to protect and restore this iconic keystone species, which continues to be illegally killed and otherwise persecuted.”

In response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told KRQE News 13 that the agency has no comment on the letter from the advocates. The department says they currently estimate there are about 15 wild wolves currently in Mexico.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with our state partners, continue to work closely with Mexico on recovery and reintroduction efforts in the southernmost population,” said Aislinn Maestas, a public affairs specialist from the department.

Although the department estimates a low count of wolves in Mexico, the number of wolves in the U.S. is much larger. The latest estimate, from the end of 2021, shows there was likely a minimum of 196 wolves across New Mexico and Arizona.