USFWS PRESS RELEASE

ANOTHER MEXICAN WOLF FOUND ILLEGALLY SHOT IN ARIZONA

USFWS contact: Tom Buckley, 505-248-6455
Arizona Game and Fish Department contact: Bruce Sitko, 928-367-4281

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Law Enforcement Agents recovered the body of another dead Mexican wolf on Thursday July 15, 2010. The wolf, AM 1189, is the second adult male of the Hawks Nest Pack found shot, and the third Mexican wolf found dead within the past month. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.

The carcass of male wolf 1189 was located northeast of Big Lake, within 2 miles of where the carcass of another wolf from the hawks nest pack, 1044, was found on June 18. The pack traditionally uses the area east of Big Lake on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests as their spring-summer breeding territory.


The remaining pack members, breeding female 1110 and yearling female 1188 are the only wolves left in this pack to provide food for the pups that were produced this year. The Interagency Field Team documented that at least seven pups were produced by this pack this spring.

The Service also took part in the investigation of a dead cow in the immediate vicinity of the dead wolf. Results from that field investigation indicate the cow also died as a result of a gunshot wound sometime during the previous 24 hours and was not, at any time, fed upon by Mexican wolves.

“I am deeply saddened by this news.” said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “It is hard for me to understand why someone would violate the law so heartlessly by killing one of our nation’s endangered species.”

A comprehensive investigation of this illegal shooting using all of the Service’s available regional law enforcement resources, and in collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other partners is underway.

“We are bringing the full weight if the law to bear on this problem and will not stop until the person or persons responsible for these deaths are brought to justice,” said Tuggle.

The Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 and the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the apprehension of the individual(s) responsible for the death of this wolf. Persons reporting information may remain anonymous upon request.

Anyone with information that could be helpful in identifying the individual(s) involved in illegally shooting a Mexican wolf is urged to contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Office of Law Enforcement at (928) 339-4232.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.

-FWS-

For more information about fish and wildlife conservation in the Southwest, visit http://www.fws.gov/southwest/

Tom Buckley
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southwest Region
Office:505-248-6455
Mobile: 505-449-8672
Tom_Buckley@fws.gov
http://southwest.fws.gov

78 Responses to “USFWS PRESS RELEASE”

  1. Ken Cole Says:

    That makes 3 DEAD and another missing.

  2. Rick Hammel Says:

    If it were a human that was shot, all sorts of agencies would be all over it. What is it going to take for FWS LE to find and convict the perp? and what is the cost of a wolf?

    Rick

  3. pointswest Says:

    There are a lot of crazies in AZ. I lived there for about a year and I also visit my mother who winters there. Arizona is the only place I have lived in the past 25 years where white people call Mexicans “spics.” At least 25% of the male population over 35 has at least one tooth missing.

    The number one pastime there is dirt biking and dirt bikers hate environmentalists for obvious reasons. There are nearly as many strip clubs as churches and there are a lot of churches. Alice Cooper is from Arizona and was neighbors with Barry Goldwater. Barry Goldwater once told the Navaho that he had tanks, …helicopter, and if the Navahos wanted war, he’d give ’em war. A cop there roughed up my 75-year-old father for talking back to him about a traffic ticket.

    That place is F’d up.

  4. Angela Says:

    wow pointswest, that IS a pretty bleak picture. Guess I won’t be moving there soon!

  5. Angela Says:

    That’s quite a big reward. I hope they find this person. And why can’t they find this person?????

  6. pointswest Says:

    Here is a photo of Big Lake. It is pretty typical of the Mogollon Rim counry. This lake up on the mesa country at about 9,000 ft.

    There are usually a lot of elk and other wildlife on the Mogollon Rim and in the Gila. I am suprised the Mexican wolf is not doing better.

    • pointswest Says:

      Black Lake is only 10 miles away from Sunrise Ski Resort, Arizona’s biggest and best ski resort.

      This area is, in general, very remote. I would guess the killers were some of the fun bunch from Phoenix staying up in the family condo at Sunrise who wanted to have fun with dad’s gun.

      People in Arizona are just plain mean. The high schoolers are the worst. Being a prick is an artform.

      That is a big reward. I hope they get them and string em up from a tall tree.

  7. Save bears Says:

    Short of someone turning someone in, I seriously doubt, that they will catch the criminal(s) that did this, I know we offered rewards when I was with FWP and rarely did we get anyone with out some type of tip being called in, I have only been to AZ a couple of times and I don’t think this is enough money to get one to turn on another down there, it is amazing the things I saw down there..

    • pointswest Says:

      If it was kids, they would have told several of their friends and someone will squeal.

    • Save bears Says:

      I can almost it was not kids PW, if it was, the word would have been out as soon as the wolf was killed, I have dealt with to many of them after 15 years, the people now a days that are going to become a criminal and illegally kill wolves are not the type to belly up to the bar and buy a round while bragging..

  8. Angela Says:

    I dunno if I think it was kids. Might it not be someone with a stronger agenda? Three in one month seems pretty determined. I guess none of these wolves was collared?

  9. pointswest Says:

    Who else would be shooting both wolves and cows? It sounds like someone who gets excited to shoot anything that had four legs.

    • Save bears Says:

      If they had not shot a couple of wolves, they probably would have got away with shooting the cows, it is not all that uncommon to shoot and steal a couple of cows, I have seen it many times over the years, in fact about 10 years ago, someone was shooting bison on the Turner ranch in Montana, to steal them for the freezer and to sell…

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      There is actually a warped common sense when it comes to people that do this kind of thing…

    • jon Says:

      What I don’t get is why wolves are even protected. Being a protected species or not is not going to stop an extreme wolf hater from killing one as we have seen with these Arizona wolves. There are no cameras where wild wolves roam, so if a wolf hater wanted to kill one, he could and would and his chances of getting caught are very unlikely unless someone saw him commit the act and tells on him.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I would have to give you a big “Ah Ha” on that one, I have been saying that for over a year now! Throw that in with WS and you have a recipe for disaster, no matter what Molloy rules!

    • jon Says:

      sb, this is a sensitive issue for most and I honestly think this will be an issue with both sides fighting each other for years and years to come. Where we will be on this wolf issue in 10 years, only god knows. From what I understand, Molloy will only relists wolves if he considers them endangered. Let’s say there are 2000 wolves plus in MT and ID right now, we will leave WY out, as a former biologist for MT fwp, would YOU consider 2000 wolves plus in ID and MT to be endangered?

    • jon Says:

      sb, I don’t understand it myself. Some believe if Molloy relists, that must mean wolves are automatically going to be safe and I find that to be untrue and wrong. As I said, being a protected species is NOT going to stop extreme wolf haters from killing wolves if they want to. Wolf haters know they can get away with poaching a few wolves, so it boggles my mind as to why some believe wolves are going to be safe from a wolf hater’s gun just because Molloy relists them.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No, I honestly don’t consider them endangered any longer, of course, I didn’t consider them endangered when they were reintroduced, I think people got impatient, as we had natural migrations of wolves in Northern Idaho, and Northern Montana, and many reports of wolves in Central Washington..I think wolves would have a far better chance, if they were allowed to continue their re-population instead of the reintroduction, we would not be dealing with this crap of the wrong animal was turned loose, and this new worm thing would not even be an issue…I think the government(s) proceeded with a flawed plan from the beginning..but that is just my opinion and that is all it is..

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No matter what Molloy does, wolves will not be safe, in anticipation, WS has gone from killing individual wolves to whole packs, and they will continue to do this, no matter what his ruling is, if they are re-listed, it will be a really ugly picture, people will just shoot them, we are seeing this happen more and more.

      Now people are saying “no more collaring” but if we implement that type of rule, we will never know when a wolf is killed.

      In all of the infinite wisdom of the organizations as well as the government, we have set this program up to fail.. and I know there are those on this blog as well as others that think I am nothing but a downer, but I am honest and I am a realist and working for and with the agencies, I know what is going to happen, unfortunately..

    • jon Says:

      sb, what would have the excuse been from the wolf haters if wolves repopulated on their own which some of they did until humans helped speed the process up? Wolf haters bring up all the time that the feds planted these wolves in their backyard and that they are non native, but what would they have been saying if wolves repopulated by themselves without human help? I don’t think it makes a difference whether wolves repopulated by themselves or with human help. Wolves would have been hated either way because of the simple fact that wolves kill elk and some hunters do not like that. As we know, the wolves in Idaho were wiped out by the same attitude from people that we see today that want wolves gone and those were the “native” wolves and they were still wiped out. Native or not, it doesn’t make a difference. Wolves eat deer and elk and moose and that is why some dislike wolves, imo.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      As I have stated in the past, my property is on the NF of the Flathead in Montana, and I never heard a negative word about wolves, until they were re-introduced, we also didn’t find wolves that had been shot and left to lay, in that area, the people were accepting that wolves were repopulating their previous territories, now they have an excuse to claim….non-native, bigger, more vicious, and what ever else they can think up..I didn’t see anything negative in Montana where my property is, and I have talked to many in Northern Idaho where I am currently at, that were complaining, now with the re-introduction program, we have given them all of the excuses they need!

    • jon Says:

      sb, I believe that is because they didn’t have wolves there eating deer, elk and moose. What I sometimes see some say is “we want the native wolf back”, but the “native” wolf was killed for the same reasons why some want these wolves killed. Non native or native, 200 pound or 60 pound, in the end, it makes no difference. Wolves are hated because they kill animals hunters want to kill. Livestock issues obviously as well.

    • jon Says:

      sb, about the non native argument, didn’t the “native” wolves that were wiped out supposedly in the 30s or whenever it was, didn’t they come from some other place before before settling in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming? So, are they really native? As you know wolves move around a lot so I don’t know how anyone can really make the argument that specific wolves are native to this place or that places. Wolves go from place to place.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I don’t argue about native or non-native, that is a lame argument to me based on science, and really has no bearing on this issue..

    • jon Says:

      Alright sb, one last question for you, do you believe Molloy will relist them or not? Some say Molloy is a greenie liberal judge who sides with the environmental organizations. If he went by #s of wolves, I don’t see how he could relist themhe did make that comment about why Wyoming wolves are protected and why not Idaho and Montana? He must have known the only reason why WY wolves are protected is because of Wyoming’s shoot on sight wolf management plan. Instead, WY wiped out whole packs to make up for the no hunting season on wolves and you have to ask yourself, is the no hunting season in wy REALLY helping wolves if ws are still gunning them down in packs due to livestock issues? Make no mistake, I want them protected, but than I think, will them being put back on the esl protect them from a poacher’s gun and the answer is no, so I am kinda conflicted about it. Protected or not, I must accept wolves are going to die even though I don’t want any of them dying.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      All I can say, is:

      I don’t know if he will re-list or not, if he re-lists, I don’t think it will be because they are endangered..

    • Save bears Says:

      Anyway,

      I am taking my Dad fly fishing in the morning, and have to get up early, so I will bid you farewell and hopefully we will be eating trout for dinner tomorrow evening.

    • jon Says:

      Have fun with your dad sb!

  10. Save bears Says:

    Jon,

    I am simply stating, I didn’t hear it before the formal reintroduction, you figure out what is means, I know they had to eat..

  11. pointswest Says:

    You do know we are talking about Mexican Wolves and these are definitly distinct sub species separate from Grey Wolves. They are likely to get separate protection. They once had it.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      I know exactly what wolf I am talking about, but I don’t think when it comes down to it, the species or sub-species really mattes much, the “getting rid” of them syndrome, crosses species lines..

    • Elk275 Says:

      Here is a quote from a post on 24 hour campfire, it validates what SB is saying

      ++If Molloy rules the right way, and I see any poaching of any big game animal, your going to pay for it. If Molloy rules the wrong way, then my eye site may get a little bad.++

    • jon Says:

      mtmuley
      Member

      Registered: 01/02/10
      Posts: 130
      Loc: The Bitteroot
      DPole, I don’t care if Molloy or anyone with a pro-wolf agenda reads what I write. It’s not like it’s a secret most hunters despise wolves. The mindset of the majority of the hunting public across the states dealing with this new predator is just what I described. I for one realize they are in my area and here to stay. It took 80 years of every method imaginable to kill the damn things the first time. Ain’t gonna happen again. I would just like to see Montana deal with them, not the suits in a courtroom. Yeah, I’m pissed about the whole situation. Millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to shove wolves down our throat to tear down game herds our states spent millions building. Makes no frickin sense. And when people that have hunted country for generations and all of a sudden game starts to dwindle, guess what? The only variable that changed gets the blame. mtmuley

  12. pointswest Says:

    I was living in Albuquerque during the captive breeding process. They had a special exhibit at the Albuquerque zoo that had a couple of one-way windows where you could observe the Lobos in their large pen. They were the pride and joy of Albuquerque and were in the news all the time. Lobos are the mascot for UNM. I had moved away by the time they were reintroduced down in the Gila and Mogollon Rim. There is a lot of deer and elk in these areas and I am surprises that they are having such a hard time.

    I think the problem has got to be the roads. While the recovery area is large and very remote and there is lots of good habitat, there are roads everywhere. Much of it is high country they call mesa and is relatively flat, so there are roads and 4X4 tracks everywhere except into the highest peaks. The bull elk I killed down there we were able to drive between the trees get right up to it with a Toyota 4X4. I think this is common.

    So the problem is that any yahoo with a rifle and six pack of beer can drive around and shoot up the country. There are very few people there. A tree falls an no one is there to hear it. It is far from Albuquerque and far from Phoenix. It also does not snow very much so the season of road poaching is a long one.

    What needs to be done is to close most of these roads and to control access to those that remain open. They could put hi-res cameras that will read license plates at several key locations to monitor who come and goes.

    That’s it in my opinion. It all about controlling the access and knowing who is coming and going. These wolves are a little bit more important than Grey Wolves in my opinion.

    • Maska Says:

      Amen to the closing roads comment. The existence of all those roads and tracks increases the threat of poaching to other wildlife, as well as wolves. Also, too many 4 x 4 and ORV’ers don’t have the common sense to avoid driving through deep mud (Or maybe they do it on purpose.), thus multiplying the resource damage.

      We saw at least five or six parallel, deep ruts along a maze of little roads while hiking in the very area where these recent killings happened. These roads, especially those that traverse meadow edges, should have been closed long ago, but unless you put in huge barricades of boulders, etc., some of these idiots (Hate to name-call, but in this case, I think the shoe fits.) go right through the closures.

      Several local groups are working on this issue, including the White Mountain Conservation League in the Springerville/Nutrioso/Alpine area, but it’s a long, difficult process.

    • Maska Says:

      You can see a few photos of some of the damage from ORV’s in the recovery area in AZ at the White Mountain Conservation League’s website. Check the little revolving slide show in the section on the home page. Some of these photos were likely taken in Mexican gray wolf home ranges.

      http://www.azwmcl.org/

  13. JEFF E Says:

    Malloy’s ruling has nothing to do with the Mexican wolves in the Southwest. those wolves have never been off the rndangered spiecies list. A lot of good it is doing them.

  14. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Like I said in a previous post, law enforcement and/or Fish and Game has got to be in on this. Even in remote country I would think somebody would be caught sooner or later. How much investigation is actually going on? As was mentioned previously, it probably is not some local yokel doing it. This is being planned.

    • Save bears Says:

      Okay,

      One last comment Pro…We can’t control illegals getting into this country and you really expect remote law enforcement patrols for wolves, it ain’t going to happen, sorry if that hits a sore spot..but that is the truth?

      Come on..if we are going to protect animals, and wild areas, we really need to rethink things..

    • cc Says:

      I share the frustration at the continued killings, but it’s a big stretch to say federal and state LEs are involved. They’re doing the best they can with limited manpower and resources, and oh, by the way, many are risking their lives in the process.

      One would think the reward would be enough in these tough economic times, but people often put their idealogy over their own self interest. And not every poacher runs their mouth. There needs to be more resources directed at the investigations but wolves are unlikely to win any competions for federal and state $.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Save bears, you make a good point, but the border is also a much bigger region than the area the wolves are in. Just a thought and no you did not touch a nerve.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Ten years plus, I was at a ranch for business in Paradise Valley between Livingston and Chico Hot Springs; the property owner got talking about wolves and his hatred for them. He then told me how one shoots them with a .223 solid point in the stomach or the liver, they will run several miles or several days depending upon were they are hit before death. The bullet will make an quarter inch hole and exit, if the wolf found several days later and has started to decay and been pick on by birds or other small animals, determination of death would become very difficult. Then where did the actual shooting happen and how much effort is law enforcement is to expend. This is the type of person who does not go to bars or talks about what was done.

  15. pointswest Says:

    Most of the forest roads are gated here in So Cal. Very few are open to the general public. And the license plate reading camera are common now. Many cop cars have them and they read dozens of license plate per second and check them against a database of warrants or stolen cars.

    I read just a week or so ago that some stare was going to switch to a barcoded license plate to make rapid reading by scanner very easy.

    • Save bears Says:

      Won’t help in Montana, the Montana courts have ruled that Camera surveillance is unconstitutional..a couple of cities in Montana put up cameras and lost a whole lot of money when the courts ruled..

  16. william huard Says:

    People need to call Gov Richardson’s office and ask him to use his influence to ask Obama to issue an executive order making it a felony to kill a protected wolf- currently it is a misdemeanor with a year jail time and 100,000 fine. These scumbag poachers need a signal that killing these wolves with come with consequences. I have little confidence in Congress to get this changed.

  17. pointswest Says:

    I posted this in ‘Intersting News’ about a week ago. It says the Mexican wolf is about to be listed separately.

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/mexican-wolf-06-30-2010.html

    It says the Mexican wolf was originally listed separatly but was “consolidated” with other wolves in 1978.

    Separate listing should trigger several laws and losen up some more funding for protection and perhaps road closures.

  18. william huard Says:

    I called Catron County Board of Comm a few weeks back, this guy Keith went off on this rant about the feds and the intrusive ESA, then he tried to convince me that Mexican wolves weren’t even Mexican wolves, I guess he didn’t know about the MCbride lineage. Sound familiar? The law enforcement division of USFWS told me they are actively pursuing leads related to these alpha male wolves- I hope they catch these idiots

  19. pointswest Says:

    I would guess several may not want the Mexican wolf to be listed separately because, as I have mentioned before, as Gray wolved move south, it will be hard to keep the two populations separate.

    I’m guessing that the natural desert boundy that originally created the two subspecies is not nearly as effective as it once was. Ranchers have installed thousands of stock tanks that use windmills to pump well water to the surface. This has greatly expanded the range of ungulates and there are probably few areas of of New Mexico that now cannot support wolves.

    If the Mexican wolf is separately listed, some agency is going to be tasked with creating a no-wolf zone between the population. I think it could be done but it will be expensive.

  20. pointswest Says:

    Does anyone know what the main prey species for the Mexican wolf was. I don’t understand why they are smaller. The do seem smaller. The Lobos at the Albuquerque zoo looked like oversized coyotes. I am wondering if their main prey was not elk but were javelina (small wild pigs) which are quite dense in many brushy mid-elevation habitats of the Southwest and Mexico.

    Mexican wolves may not do well hunting elk. Gray wolves may move into the Gila and Mogollon Rim and completely displace the Mexican wolves.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Pointswest, the Mexican wolf is the smallest subspecies of wolf in North America. I would imagine their main prey in some areas was javelina or Coues deer and possibly bighorn sheep. Elk have always been in the areas where they live now, but the elk that is there now is the Rocky Mountain subspecies which was reintroduced when the Merriam’s subspecies went extinct. I can’t seem to find much information on the size of that one, but since subspecies in warm climates are generally smaller than colder I wonder if this one was smaller than the Rocky Mountain elk. I would imagine there was a hybrid subspecies in places like you mentioned.

    • pointswest Says:

      I did some internet reading on the Merriam’s elk. It sounds like the differences were slight and some doubt they were really a subspecies. Although there is little doubt in my mind that the Gila/Mogollon Rim country is (or was) geographically isolated by the Grand Ganyon, the San Juan Canyon, and by the deserts of nothern and central New Mexico from animal populaitons to the north and east.

      Since the Gila/Mogollon Rim country also supports jaguars, I would be in favor of another large National Park to preserve all of it…in addition to an expanded Yellowstone and a central Idaho River of No Return National Park.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      I would also be in favor of those national parks. I have always wondered why the elk in New Mexico and Arizona seem to make record books when they are a reintroduced subspecies.

    • pointswest Says:

      It is good habbitat, there are (or were) no preditors to chase them, the winters are mild, much of the country is semi-open, so the bulls can grow to a ripe old age with giant racks. Notice when you see photos of the giant bulls, they are always in a desert like country.

      The high semi-arid regions of the southwest are different from up north. The Southwest has a wet season in summer when tropical moisture moves north. They call it the monsoon season. So, what looks like a desert that would be void of game futher north, might actually be fairly good elk habitat because of the rains that fall in July, August, and September. They can also eat pinion nuts. The big bulls can simply live longer and carry bigger racks under these conditions.

      I’ve heard that the main popluation of elk was orginally on the Great Plains. …that the center of gravity for their genetics was in the Dakotas. They are a plains animal and not really a forest animal.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      I have heard that elk were originally a plains animal as well. While there is no denying that they did live on the plains, if you research, elk once lived in almost every state in the continental United States. They are actually pretty adaptable, they just survived in the mountains in the western US. The elk that are in the eastern US and the Great Plains are Rocky Mountain and not the original Eastern elk.

    • pointswest Says:

      The below photo is in what is known as a Pinion Forest in New Mexico…

      These pinion forests are pretty common in New Mexico and Arizona. They get little snow in the winter, they get summer rains, and the elk can eat pinion nuts. Some of these pinon trees will produce several gallons of pinion nuts per year.

      This is where many of the trophey bulls come from. It is habbitat and not genetic, I believe.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      That looks similar to some of the areas in southwest Wyoming which I’m told also has big bulls.

    • Maska Says:

      Just a couple of quick comments. I spend a lot of time in the general area where these two Hawk’s Nest wolves were shot. The area contains quite a few roads and is less than 20 miles from Eagar/Springerville via a really good forest road. The area also contains one end of a USFS ORV “trail,” and ORV enthusiasts frequent the area, especially on summer and fall weekends. It is very hard to keep track of what’s going on there.

      It is not correct that there is little snow, however. Certainly for the past couple of years, the roads into this particular area have been closed from early winter until mid to late spring. This winter’s snows were particularly deep in this area–not like up north, but respectable amounts of snow.

    • pointswest Says:

      Little or a lot of snow is relative. Big Lake is only 10 miles from Sunlight Park Ski Resort in the White Mountains. These mountains are the highest in the wolf recovery area of the Gila/Mogollon Rim country with peaks up to 11,400 feet. Sunlight gets an averge snowfall of 250 inches per year. Grand Targhee, in the Yellowstone area, gets 500 inches of snowfall and is about 1,500 lower in elevation than is Sunlight.

      The mesas and pinion forests of New Mexico and Arizona, where many of the large bull elk roam, are found at about the seven to eight thousand foot level and these mesas and pinion forests will usually completely melt off during a warm dry period even in mid-winter. Much of the Gila/Mogollon Rim is below 8,000 feet and melts off even in mid-winter.

      I lived in New Mexico for about eight years and have hunted and hiked all over it, summer and winter.

    • Maska Says:

      pointswest: Mexican gray wolves weigh about 50-80 pounds, with females smaller than males. Given that much of their original range was farther south than the current reintroduction area and included a large section in Mexico, you are probably right about their original prey.

      The reintroduced animals seem to be doing pretty well in killing elk. One of the first three pairs released from captivity in 1998 killed an elk within two weeks after they were released–with no prior experience in hunting anything but small animals that happened to find themselves in their pre-release pen. Their diet is approximately 75% elk, according to scat studies. Some of the elk that winds up in scats is undoubtedly scavenged, but project folks document quite a few kills.

    • Maska Says:

      pointswest: Thanks for the snow figures.
      Much of the recovery area on the New Mexico side does receive less snow and it melts off much more quickly, although this year late winter snows made for difficult access into spring.

      I can’t comment on the prevalence of big bull elk on either side of the stateline, but we sure have seen a lot of big ones in the general area where these latest wolves were shot–east and north of Big Lake.

  21. Elk275 Says:

    I believe that the Merriam Elk was a larger subspecies than the Rocky Mountain Elk. The Merriam Elk was shot out in the late 1890’s and the Rocky Mountain either was transplanted or wandered south from Colorado. Some of the biggest antler and body size elk are coming out of Arizona. There is a belief that pockets of Merriam Elk survive and interbred with Rocky Mountain Elk creating the larger than normal elk from in Arizona. Then again Arizona produces very large antelope and mule in greater proportions than the other western states.

    • pointswest Says:

      I always used to hear that there were big elk in Arizona but thought it was due to the habitat that is more open than in areas further north. I did a lot of reading today and there were some geneticists who disputed claims that Merriam’s gene had survived.

    • pointswest Says:

      You know, the first thing they need to do to garner more public support is to stop calling it the Mexican Wolf Recovery Project. That would be like calling the Yellowstone reintroduction the Cananidan Wolf Recovery Project.

      Stupid…that is the problem with environmentalists. They mean well but can be so stupid.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      I never thought of that but you probably have a point pointswest. The only problem is that Mexican wolf is the legitimate name for the subspecies.

    • JEFF E Says:

      It probably stems from the fact that Mexico once included Texas, New Mexico, Arizona……All which was c.l. Baileyi territory.
      As an interesting side note, Causes of documented Mexican wolf mortalities in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in
      Arizona and New Mexico from 1998-2010, excluding “management removels” , 4% were the result of predation.

  22. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Jeff, what were these predations from, mountain lions? I don’t imagine black bears would be killing too many. Does that also include pack rivalries?

    • JEFF E Says:

      Pro,
      I am pretty sure if it was pack rivalry it would be called “inter-pack strife or competition”.
      Predation is spicific to being killed for food. Could be coyote, black bear, or IMO most likly cougar. One way to find out is write an e-maIL and ask.

    • Maska Says:

      Two wolves were killed by mountain lions. One was killed in probable inter-pack strife. Here are the studbook #s of those animals:

      F482—lion—10/26/99
      F587—lion—1/16/04
      M927–other wolves–11/10/06

    • JEFF E Says:

      were the two lion kills adults? Was it determined if the lion was injured/starving or was wolf just what was for dinner.

    • Maska Says:

      Jeff E, it appears that both wolves were adults. Both were females, however, and females are generally smaller than males. I have no idea about the condition of the lions (or the wolves, for that matter). All of my information comes from public records, which don’t include those details.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Thanks Maska

  23. pointswest Says:

    I would have to guess that the small body size of the Mexican wolf has to do with temperature and weather and not very much to do with prey. Larger animals tend to do better in cold temperatures since they have a higher body-mass-to-surface-area ratio. Bigger animals can retain their body heat. A large portion, perhaps the majority, of the gray wolf’s gene pool would have been on the northern Great Plains where temps can drop to 30 below with howling winds for weeks at a time. Mexican wolves were in a more mild climate and were geographically isolated from the Great Plains and from the wolf gene pool there. They could evolve a smaller body size that required less food/water and to more readily dissipate heat during warm summer weather. As long as they’re large enough to take down elk, they would do better with a small body size simply because a smaller body requires less prey.

    The Great Plains population of Gray wolves would also have preyed upon buffalo. There are no buffalo in the Southwest. As long as Mexican wolves are large enough to take down elk (and that is apparently the case), the smaller body size makes sense. The improved heat dissipation of the smaller body might also help them take down elk in warm weather. They can chase elk until the big bodied elk overheat. I guess the smaller body size makes sense where they are geographically isolated from the Great Plains.

  24. pointswest Says:

    I would have to guess that the small body size of the Mexican wolf has to do with temperature and weather and not very much to do with prey. Larger animals tend to do better in cold temperatures since they have a higher body-mass-to-surface-area ratio. Bigger animals can retain their body heat. A large portion, perhaps the majority, of the gray wolf’s gene pool would have been on the northern Great Plains where temps can drop to 30 below with howling winds for weeks at a time. Mexican wolves were in a more mild climate and were geographically isolated from the Great Plains and from the wolf gene pool there. They could evolve a smaller body size that required less food/water and to more readily dissipate heat during warm summer weather. As long as they’re large enough to take down elk, they would do better with a small body size simply because a smaller body requires less prey.

    The Great Plains population of Gray wolves would also have preyed upon buffalo. There are no buffalo in the Southwest. As long as Mexican wolves are large enough to take down elk (and that is apparently the case), the smaller body size makes sense. The improved heat dissipation of the smaller body might also help them take down elk in warm weather. They can chase elk until the big bodied elk overheat. I guess the smaller body size makes sense where they are geographically isolated from the Great Plains.


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