Lobo, the King of Currumpaw

Lobo (Spanish for “wolf”) was the leader of a wolfpack that roamed the Currumpaw River Valley of northeastern New Mexico in the early 1890s. He and his pack were notorious for preying on the vast cattle and sheep herds of the area.

For several years local ranchers tried to trap and kill the members of the pack. Lobo possessed such cunning, however, that he was able to detect their poisons and traps.

Due to his knowledge of wolf behavior, Ernest Thompson Seton, a naturalist and the author of the Boy Scout Handbook, was employed by the ranchers to rid them of Lobo’s pack. His first attempts at trapping and poisoning were to no avail. However, he learned that a small, white wolf called Blanca often ran ahead of the pack. Seton concluded that the wolf must be a female, for Lobo would have killed any male committing a similar act. Later he determined that the white wolf was, in fact, Lobo’s mate.

Having identified the big wolf’s mate, Seton set about to capture her. He killed a cow as bait, severed the head from the body and set traps around both. When Lobo and the pack came to inspect the kill, Blanca broke in front and was caught in one of the traps.

Seton killed Blanca and used her body and scent to lure Lobo into traps. He tried to keep Lobo alive, but the great wolf eventually died suffering from the loss of both his freedom and his mate. 

Seton recounted the capture of Lobo in his most famous book, Wild Animals I have Known, (1898).