We Just Lost 2 More Mexican Gray Wolves, But Wolf Advocates Aren’t Giving Up

Mexican gray wolves have suffered yet another blow with a recent announcement from wildlife officials that they’re investigating the deaths of two more who were shot and killed in New Mexico last month, but their advocates aren’t giving up the fight to see them return to their rightful place in the wild.

This week conservation organizations and a former Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator came together to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to come up with a solid recovery plan since efforts began save them almost 40 years ago.

Mexican gray wolves were once abundant in vast portions of the Southwest and Mexico, but were eradicated by the 1900s. In 1976 they were listed as an endangered species and bi-national recovery efforts began. In the late 1970s five wolves were captured and used to start a captive breeding program, but despite starting a temporary recovery plan in 1982, there are still only an estimated 83 left in the wild as of the last official count, which is still far short of the 100 there were supposed to be by 2006 and drastically short of the number needed to ensure their survival.

Their advocates fear that despite some of the efforts that have been undertaken to save them, they still face a serious risk of extinction in the wild. The few in the wild now remain vulnerable to a host problems ranging from a lack of genetic diversity, diseases and natural disasters to being killed by humans; at least 50 illegal killings have been documented since reintroduction efforts began in 1998. They’re also suffering as a result of having a restricted range that doesn’t allow them to naturally expand to new areas where they could thrive, which have been identified in New Mexico, Arizona, southern Utah, southern Colorado and Texas.

Currently, any wolves who leave the recovery area to establish a new territory are captured and put back. Not only does this stop them from establishing new territories and moving between different populations, but captures can be traumatic and end in death.

“For three decades now, Fish and Wildlife officials have been dragging their feet on completing a recovery plan simply to appease state leaders and special interest groups opposed to sharing the landscape with wolves,” said Michael Robinson, a wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s shameful that the very people charged with recovering our wildlife have turned their backs on these beautiful creatures, leaving them to battle inbreeding and a host of other threats pushing them to the brink of extinction.”

In a new report, the Center runs through the government’s repeated efforts to come up with a plan and how it has shut down every single one before they were complete. In the most recent attempt in 2012, scientists recommended adding areas to their range and ensuring a population of at least 750 wolves, but that plan was never finished.

Through their lawsuit, wolf advocates are seeking to have the court compel the FWS to complete its recovery plan, arguing that the agency’s lack of progress is in violation of the Endangered Species Act, which legally requires a recovery plan for imperiled species.

This July, the FWS proposed changes to rules governing Mexican gray wolf management, with a few beneficial changes that were widely supported by the public, but their advocates fear the benefits won’t be enough to help without a long-term recovery plan in place to ensure their survival.

“Only by developing and implementing a comprehensive and legally compliant recovery plan reflecting the best available scientific information can Fish and Wildlife Service secure the future of the Mexican wolf, and establish management sufficient to restore this irreplaceable part of our wild natural heritage to the American landscape,” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri.

Hopefully the court will rule for wolves in this case to ensure action is taken on their behalf before it’s too late.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

109 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa4 years ago

Thank you

SEND
Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

USFWdis-S is the first department that needs to be shut down. Talk about useless and hypocrtical. They are the worst thing to happen to wildlife. The only way to move forward in conservation is to first get rid of dis-S, get all wolves back on ESA and get rid of republicans.

SEND
Betty Kelly
Betty Kelly4 years ago

These wolves should be saved. Penalties for harming these wolves & efforts to protect them should be doubled.

SEND
Marilyn M.
Marilyn M4 years ago

Save Mexican Gray wolves!

SEND
Susan R.
.4 years ago

Signed

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

For the horses and goats from PETROPOLIS please sign the petitions :
Care 2 - and - ♞ PeticaoPublica.com
To see more : misfed. - Rip - Rip - misfed - Rip

Angev

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

PETROPOLIS : now you can help the sanctuary that is home to farm animals, victims of exploitation, of abuse, and all kinds of cruelty. Some comes from Pétropolis some from other places around this city. Today there are 150 lucky animals, please give, for keeping them and to rescue other ones : ♥ Fairy sanctuary - or - ♥ Doe

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

NEW THREAT on Petropolis animals, they need again your help
to stop a project of a vivarium for laboratory. You know what's
happened to the horses in the streets outside, imagine for pets in cages. Please sign the new petition here :
STOP Petropolis vivarium project

SEND
Loretta Pienaar

All I personally can do is sign this petition - which I did - and put it on facebook and pray to the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, which INCLUDES these stunning Mexican Gray Wolves who have a RIGHT to live and to be protected and to be LOVED.

SEND