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Wolf Facts at a Glance:

The gray wolf (canis lupus) is the largest member of the canine family, measuring 26 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 70 to 85 pounds. Its territory originally ranged throughout the continental United States due to its ability to adapt to temperature extremes. It preyed on deer, moose, and bison.

Ups and downs: By 1984, the gray wolf occupied only 1 percent of its former range in the continental United States. Restoration projects are under way in Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, and Montana.

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), a subspecies of the gray wolf, is a smaller canine whose geographical range once included central and southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas. This wolf's natural prey is deer.

Ups and downs: Sightings of Mexican gray wolves in the wild have not been confirmed in the United States since the early 1970s and in Mexico since the early 1980s. Restoration projects are underway.

The red wolf (Canis rufus) gets its name from the reddish color on its head, ears, and legs. It is somewhat smaller than the gray wolf, weighing 45 to 80 pounds. Red wolves originally ranged as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as central Texas. They prey on white-tailed deer, raccoons, and rabbits.

Ups and downs: Red wolves were considered extinct in the wild by 1980. Individuals raised in captivity are being reintroduced in the southeastern United States.

SOURCE: National Wildlife Federation

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