The Mexican footballer launched the campaign today with a simple message and hashtag #ProtectThePack – or #ProtegeALaManada in his native Spanish – aimed at raising awareness about programmes of conservation for the ‘Canis lupus baileyi’.
Funds raised through the campaign will be distributed to protecting the Mexican Wolf, a species with just 30 to 50 units in the wild and on the brink of extinction.
The Wolves striker, who has been given the nickname ‘Lobo Mexicano’, or ‘Mexican wolf’, in his homeland, is calling for supporters across the globe to back the campaign. “I love wolves, they are amazing,” Jimenez said. “Be part of my team, take care of the Mexican wolves, because they are the guardians of the forests.”
The campaign is being led by the Mexican branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), with the support of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), helping 22 wolves to be reintroduced in the wild.
“Wolves are key to nature.” explained Jorge Rickards, general director of WWF Mexico. “They maintain the balance of the ecosystems and their presence keeps the rivers healthy, since they hunt large herbivores that consume huge amounts of vegetation. With wolves, species that give life to rivers, such as beavers, thrive.”
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of the wolves to nature and raise funds from football fans and the general public to help an international program of reintroduction of wolves to their natural habitat, with the aim of reproducing this species.
Head of the CONANP, Roberto Avina Carlin, said: “Our goal is to remove this species from the list of endangered species and the goal that our bi-national team has set is to have 200 wolves in the wild in Mexico and 300 in the United States, which we hope to achieve in 20 or 25 years.
“We know there’s still a lot of work to do, so we’re humbled and honoured to receive the support of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Raul Jimenez, a leader on and off the pitch.”
Russell Jones, head of marketing at Wolves, added: “We all have a responsibility to preserve our environment, and on behalf of Wolverhampton Wanderers, I want to say how excited we are to do our part and announce this alliance with WWF Mexico.
“Together we will do our best to protect the Mexican wolf and preserve nature.”
For more information or to donate to the campaign, visit wwf.org.mx.