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It’s Been Four Years Since Last Mexican Gray Wolf Was Released

It’s Been Four Years Since Last Mexican Gray Wolf Was Released

The Center for Biological Diversity is calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to release more Mexican gray wolves into the wild this week, which marks the four-year anniversary of the last release.

“By starving the wild wolf population of new animals, the Fish and Wildlife Service is stacking the odds against their recovery,” said the Center’s wolf specialist, Michael Robinson in a statement. “Resuming the release of wolves into the wild is absolutely essential to overcoming inbreeding and ensuring the success of this wolf recovery program.”

Mexican gray wolves once roamed vast portions of the Southwest and Mexico but were eradicated by the 1900s in the U.S. due to conflicts with humans and livestock, while populations in Mexico dwindled.

In 1982, the USFWS approved the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, which recommended a captive breeding program and supported a goal of maintaining at least 100 wolves in their historic range. Because no one was sure how the program would do, or if wolves could successfully be reintroduced, there was no other definitive goal set for the program at the time, other than to continue working on recovery efforts.

As of now, the number of Mexican gray wolves in the wild is estimated to be between 50 to 60 in New Mexico and Arizona with just six breeding pairs.

“All Mexican wolves in the world today stem from just seven animals captured alive from the wild in Mexico and the United States, the last one in 1980. After reintroduction of the wolves to Arizona and New Mexico began in 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service had many of the most genetically valuable wolves shot or trapped on behalf of the livestock industry. Consequently the captive population will have to jump-start the wild population again,” according to the Center.

Most recently, an alpha female and mother of four pups from the Fox Mountain pack was slated to be shot and killed by the USFWS for allegedly preying on cattle at a ranch near the wolf recovery area the pack called home. Thanks to public outcry, her life was spared, but she was captured on October 12 and will be spending her days at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center where she may be used in a captive breeding program.

Her capture was questionable at best, and the fact that the USFWS came under fire after providing WildEarth Guardians records they requested with 682 pages of the 870 page report blacked out didn’t help. According to WildEarth Guardians, the few pages they did show didn’t provide any conclusive reason or solid evidence to justify her removal.

According to the report, “In one instance, rains had obliterated tracks and in another a rancher claimed to see a “large canine” in a meadow. In two other incidents attributed to the Fox Mountain pack, the cow carcasses were found either in a completely dried out state or in “advanced decomposition.”

Meanwhile, the few that are in the wild remain extremely vulnerable to a host of potential problems ranging from a lack of genetic diversity, diseases and natural disasters to hunting and trapping, while approximately 300 wolves who are part of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan are being housed at facilities in the U.S. and Mexico waiting to be set free.

 

Related Stories:

Feds to Shoot Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf

Fewer Than 100 Red Wolves Exist, Now They’re Being Killed

Wildlife Specialist Posts Pics of His Dogs Torturing Coyote Caught in Trap

 

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Photo credit: Don Burkett

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3:48AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

thank you for sharing

7:39AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

I agree with Past Member - WE DON'T WANT YOUR STINKIN MEAT! I love wolves and would rather have them thriving, living without human interference, and doing their jobs in the ecosystem any day of the week. LEAVE THEM ALONE AND LET THEM LIVE!

10:38AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you Alicia, for Sharing this!

2:34PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:34AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

I've been wondering also what would become of those being released back into the wild....no doubts they would become the targets of hunters and shooters. We need to PROTECT these beautiful creatures not drive them to extinction.

I hope for the best for these animals but fear the worst.

8:51PM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Don't you love the fact that the farmers/ranchers can talk all they want and no wolves are heard?

6:25PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

ALL WILDLIFE HAS THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN THE WILD -- WHAT WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON IS THE HUMAN ELEMENT AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO BELIEVE THEY OWN ALL THE LAND AND ARE TAKING AWAY THE RIGHTS OF WILDLIFE. LISTEN, THE WHOLE POINT OF GOVT IS TO PROTECT WHAT IS VULNERABLE AND WHAT NEEDS PROTECTION -- CASE IN POINT -- RANCHERS DO NOT NEED PROTECTION -- THEY ALREADY HAVE SO MUCH! THE ANIMALS THAT ARE BEING PUSHED OUT OF THEIR HOMES, THEIR HABITATS, WHO ARE LOSING THEIR LIVES ARE THE VULNERABLE AND NEED PROTECTION -- OUR PROTECTION -- THE PROTECTION OF THE GOVT. BUT, WHAT IS THE GOVT DOING INSTEAD? INSTEAD OF PROTECTING OUR WILDLIFE, THEY ARE SLAUGHTERING OUR WILDLIFE AND THIS IS CRUEL, IMMORAL, UNCONSCIONABLE AND ILLEGAL! WHAT IS GOVT FOR IF NOT FOR PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE. SHAME ON OUR GOVT, THE BLM AND EVEN THE RANCHERS FOR ONLY THINKING ABOUT THEIR FINANCIAL GAINS -- OUR WILDLIFE AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT IS PAYING WITH THEIR LIVES AND THE REVERBERATIONS OF BLM'S DECISIONS WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT US ALL -- WE, AS TAXPAYERS, SHOULD FORCE THE BLM TO PROTECT OUR WILDLIFE AND THEIR NATURAL HABITATS.

9:30AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Why release them, so they can be murdered?

7:05AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

What for? So they can become target practice? I would like to know that the "real" remit is for the USFWS, because it surely is not the preservation and protection of American wildlife. It’s more like the breeding of animals so that they can be hunted and trapped for so called sportsmen and giving millions of acres of PUBLIC LAND over to ranchers to rear cattle and ranchers that are just not prepared to share this land with anything else. It’s not long ago that a high ranking USFWS employee was in the news for proudly standing next to a beautiful dead cougar that he had shot. Public lands are just that "PUBLIC" and they belong to all of us, not just a few selected people and it’s about time that Americans stood up to protect THEIR rights on THEIR land.

When are the USFWS going to acknowledge that they are doing the worst job in "managing" our wildlife. They need to take a step back and let nature manage wildlife, like it’s been done, very successfully I might add, for the past ....oh I don't know, 5 billion years!!

4:00AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

It would be great if they were released with the knowledge that they would be "safe" but the reality is too cruel and they will probably end up being tortured and/or shot. There needs to be protection for them first.

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