Update: Thanks to all the pressure the USFWS received over this issue, they revised the kill order and will have the Fox Mountain Pack’s alpha female removed instead and taken to the Southwest Wolf Conservation Center.
According to Mexicanwolves.org:
The Southwest Wolf Conservation Center, one of the facilities involved in the captive breeding program, wants to treat the Fox Mountain female wolf in a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) research program. CTA involves feeding the wolf beef laced with a substance that makes them feel queasy so that they learn to avoid livestock. This treatment is promising and could enable the Fox Mountain wolf to be returned to her pack. The USFWS should use this option, rather than keeping her in captivity for the rest of her life.
The coalition is urging people to email the USFWS’ Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle (RDTuggle@fws.gov) and Acting Southwest Regional Director Joy Nicholopoulos (Joy_Nicholopoulos@fws.gov) to say thank you for sparing her life and ask that they use the CTA option so this alpha female can be returned to her pack, in addition to asking that more Mexican gray wolves are released soon.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an order today authorizing the immediate killing of an endangered Mexican gray wolf female under the guise of depredation after four cattle deaths related to her pack were reported in recent months.
The wolf in question is the Fox Mountain Pack’s alpha female, who currently has pups. Wolf advocates are understandably upset by the decision and are raising concerns about the pack’s ability to survive without her, and whether or not her mate will be able to find a new one.
”Instead of killing this successful wolf mother, more should be done by affected ranchers to protect their livestock,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This kill order is a shocking return to reviled and destructive Bush administration policies toward Mexican gray wolves. Resources should be used to immediately hire a range-rider, rather than spend a greater amount of taxpayer money to shoot a radio-collared wolf in front of her pups.”
“The Fox Mountain Pack is largely surviving on elk,” said Robinson. “Rare losses of livestock, whose owners are indemnified, should not be used as an excuse to resume a de facto war against the beautiful, intelligent, social and very imperiled Mexican wolf. These pups should be allowed to grow up with their mother.”
Since recovery efforts began in 1998, their population is now estimated to be between 50 and 60 with six breeding pairs leaving them extremely vulnerable. This will be the first time since 2007 that an endangered wolf will be killed over predation, even though the unidentified rancher in question only lost four and was financially compensated.
Daniel Patterson of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility accused the federal government of encouraging a welfare ranching policy through its actions and pointed out that the recovery program has not released any new wolves into the wild in nearly four years, despite the fact that there are hundreds being warehoused.
Millions of cattle die from a host of causes every year that dwarf losses from predation. Yet, for some reason as soon as a predator kills one ranchers come out with pitchforks and torches and now an extremely endangered animal has to pay with her life.
The first thing you can do is sign the Care2 petition against this atrocity.
The coalition of wolf advocates who make up Mexicanwolves.org is urging people to call the White House and the USFWS Southwest Regional Director Ben Tuggle immediately to tell them each Mexican gray wolf is vital to the species’ survival and to keep the Fox Mountain alpha female in the wild with her pups where she belongs.
White House number: 202-456-1111
US Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Office number: 505-248-6911
If you live in any of these swing states, please call the local Obama campaign office:
Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, or Wisconsin.
You can find the nearest Obama campaign office here.
You can also send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you took action on behalf of Mexican gray wolves.
Photo credit: bonnie_leer