Mexican wolf population finally increases a bit

Grows from 42 to 50 in the year 2010-

Finally there’s a little bit of good news about Mexican wolves. After the population stagnated well below the recovery figure of 100 wolves, I has declined in recent years.  In 2010, on the strength of wild born pups and a halt on government killing for livestock depredations, it grew by 8.  The wolves were about equally distributed between Arizona and New Mexico.

Illegal shootings were the leading cause of death.

Federal biologists count 50 Mexican wolves in wild. Associated Press

$58,000 Reward Offered in another Arizona Wolf Shooting

Biggest reward offered in some time for info on a wolf shooting-

Yet another collared Mexican gray wolf, F521 from the Fox Mountain Pack, found dead in December.

$58,000 Reward Offered in Arizona Wolf Shooting. Arizona Reporter

This reward was first offered in July for the killings of other collared Mexican gray wolves.

Anyone with information in Arizona is encouraged to call USFWS agents in Mesa, AZ at 480-967-7900 or in Alpine, AZ at 928-339-4232.

Mexican wolf recovery: a classic hegemonic struggle?

Great article in Demarcated Landscapes rejects the dominion of ranchers over the rest of us-

“. . . along comes this opinion piece from the Salt Lake City Tribune suggesting that if ranchers can’t make peace with the lobo, then the lobo cannot be recovered.

…in the battle between our deep-seated fears and our hopes, the wolves bear the greatest burden. There is no new narrative of coexistence, of respect for all creatures on the land. We seem stuck in the stories of the old days, when wolves were the enemy that must be eliminated.

Until we change that perception, wolves in the Southwest won’t have a prayer

Yeah, well, you know what? Fuck that. Let’s change the perception that ranchers have any say in the matter instead. Let’s let the new power- the power of the majority of voters who want wolves back on the landscape (democracy) and the power of ecological common sense (that predators are important- duh!) be the new hegemonic force. People can’t make a living with their cows wandering around in wolf country? Then take a buy-out.

Read the rest . . . . Mexican wolf recovery: a classic hegemonic struggle? Demarcated Landscapes.

Sadly, Arizona Game and Fish just voted to support delisting the Mexican wolf, of which only 40 are left.  Game and Fish abandoning gray wolves. By Steve Robinson Editorial Sounding Board. Arizona Daily Sun.

The fact that they would support delisting when there are only 40 animals shows the number of wolves is an irrelevant issue.  This is a cultural battle between us and those who just assume they have some right to push us around — those who hold the hegemony.

A dozen Democrats want positive changes in Mexican wolf program

Fighting back for once!

Democrats seek changes to wolf program. Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico ranchers’ use of technology to track wolves debated

Only 39 Mexican wolves remain in the wild after several poaching incidents.

Conservation groups are asking the USFWS to retrieve telemetry equipment from ranchers and change the frequencies of the radio collars on the wolves so that people with receivers cannot find wolves and kill them. They argue, correctly in my estimation, that the radio frequencies are compromised.

New Mexico ranchers’ use of technology to track wolves debated
El Paso Times

US Fish and Wildlife Service to Review Status of Mexican Wolf to Determine if it is an Endangered Subspecies

Change could result in greater protections for Mexican Gray Wolf

The USFWS has announced that they will review the status of the Mexican Gray Wolf as an endangered subspecies. The reclassification would require the Service to rewrite their recovery plan and designate critical habitat.

Mexican Gray Wolf May Qualify for Endangered Species Protection Separate From Other Gray Wolves.  Recognition Would Boost Wolf Recovery
Center for Biological Diversity – News release

Feds to review status of Mexican gray wolf

Service to Review Status of Mexican Wolf to Determine if it is an Endangered Subspecies.
Fish and Wildlife Service Newsroom

Governor Stands Up For Mexican Wolves

Governor Richardson Issues Trapping Restrictions in Lobo Country

Governor Stands Up For Mexican Wolves .
WildEarth Guardians – Press Release

Gray wolf shot in AZ; officials probe use of radio tracking

More on the dead Mexican wolves

One possibility that might be considered by the investigators is the possibility that those with government issued telemetry equipment may not be using it to kill the wolves but they may be giving the frequencies to those who are.

Gray wolf shot in AZ; officials probe use of radio tracking.
Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star



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.

Read the rest of this entry »

USFWS investigates Mexican wolf killings

Two Dead, another missing

Two alpha males Mexican gray wolves have been found dead under suspicious circumstances and another collared alpha male wolf is missing. This is a disaster for the struggling population of wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

US investigates wolf killings.
Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star

Petition to Protect Mexican Wolves from Traps on Public Lands

Groups Request End to Trapping & Snaring in Mexican Wolf Habitat in NM

14 Mexican Wolves have Been Trapped by Private TrappersPress Release – WildEarth Guardians

Santa Fe, NM. Today, WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and Southwest Environmental Center petitioned federal agencies and requested an emergency halt to all trapping and snaring on the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Numerous Mexican gray wolves, which face imminent extinction, have been harmed by traps set throughout the recovery area. The groups sought immediate increased protections for Mexican wolves or lobos from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico.

More …

Wolf-recovery program now ‘at risk of failure’

Cumulative impacts of many factors cited

A new report by the Us Fish and Wildlife Service assesses the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the news isn’t good.

Cumulatively there are many risks for the population.  Among them are poaching, too many controls related to depredation, small litter sizes and low pup survival possibly related to inbreeding.

The report states:

While it is not biologically reasonable to expect the population to track exactly with predictions or to increase every year, population swings over the last 5 years, coupled with a steady decline in the number of breeding pairs over the last 3 years, and inability of the project to achieve its objective to increase the minimum population by 10 percent in each of the last 2 years, indicate that the cumulative effects of identified threats coupled with the population’s biological parameters are putting the population at risk of failure.

Wolf-recovery program now ‘at risk of failure’.
Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star

US Fish and Wildlife Service must rule soon on the Mexican Wolf

Conservation groups seek endangered species status. Judge tells USFWS to make up their mind quickly-

The restoration of the Mexican wolf under the experimental, non-essential rule that guided the restoration of wolves to the Northern Rockies has been a fiasco. Groups want to give the rare wolf fully endangered status, which has more teeth.  USFWS has dragged its feet on making a decision. Now a federal judge tells the Service to decide by the end of July.

Agency must decide on proposed endangered species listing for Mexican gray wolf by end of July, judge rules– Sue Major Holmes, Associated Press

Mexico to place 5 wolves near AZ


This story appeared last week while I was gone and there was a little discussion about it on the open thread but I think it deserves its own thread.

The significance of this story is not so much that wolves are being released into the wild but that it is happening in Mexico close to the border and that if any of these wolves or their progeny enter into the U.S. they will have full protection under the Endangered Species Act and cannot be legally killed even if they are preying on livestock.

This would have significant implications for the floundering Mexican wolf recovery program in Arizona and New Mexico which announced that there are only 42 wolves in the wild, down from the 52 last year. These wolves are considered an experimental, non-essential population.

One of the main hinderances of the current recovery program in Arizona and New Mexico is that there are arbitrary boundaries inside which the wolves must stay. Wolves reintroduced into Mexico would not have these boundaries because they wouldn’t be considered an experimental, non-essential population under the Endangered Species Act.

Mexico to place 5 wolves near AZ
Tim Steller – Arizona Daily Star

Mexican wolf population dipping

Only 42 Mexican wolves!

This was contributed by “TallTrent” on “Have you run across any interesting news?”

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On December 28,  I posted an article about the status of Mexican wolves that was pessimistic, but some folks from the area commented that things were looking up.  This story casts doubt on that.

Mexican wolf population dipping. “Officials say total from last year was down nearly 20%.” Tony Davis and Tim Steller. Arizona Daily Star.

Almost all the pups in 2009 ended up dead, and it was an unusually large and hopeful number of pups. I don’t know if it was disease, but the Mexican wolf population is one that is clearly in or close to a genetic bottleneck. High pup mortality is often one result of this.

Mexican wolves have as bad a year in ’09 as in ’08

Hope for the future with plans to reduce “controls” for livestock depredations?

High mortality for the small population of Mexican wolves continued this year with the population again ending at about 50 wolves. Under new management plans it is hoped that government wolf removal for killing livestock will abate.

Another deadly year for Mexican wolf. By Associated Press

12/29. Note: An informed comment indicates 2009 was a bit of an improvement.

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Recently on this blog. Federal officials [said to] look for ways to make Mexican wolf recovery a success in the Southwest. Dec. 7, 2009.

Re-imagining Mexican gray wolf recovery

A fine essay from the blog “Wild Muse”-

When other web sites link to this one, I can see it in the statistics page (accessible to the blog’s editors). I noticed Wild Muse (not to be confused with our frequent commenter “Wilderness Muse”) had linked to a story. I followed it back and found this excellent story Re-imagining Mexican gray wolf recovery

Federal officials [said to] look for ways to make Mexican wolf recovery a success in the Southwest

A lot of this article is just blue sky exaggeration-

This article’s URL was emailed to me by someone familiar with the Mexican wolf program. Federal officials look for ways to make wolf recovery a success in the Southwest. By Susan Montoya Bryan. LA Times.

My email friend wrote: “I read these stories and I can’t keep a straight face.  Mexican wolves have killed hundreds of cattle in the last decade?  At best they got 52 of the “little buggers” so any talk of hundreds of dead cattle is absurd.  I certainly hope that someone . . . makes a stand on this kind of misinformation.  If any ranchers have gone out of business or plan to in the future I would think they could come up with a believable story rather than a laughable one………..”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service retakes helm of Mexican wolf management

Lawsuit settlement results in USFWS reclaiming decision-making authority over Mexican wolves-

Folks are now hopeful that the failing effort to restore the Mexican wolf is out of the hands of a committee that had become captive to local anti-wolf interests.
Deal on Mexican Gray Wolf. Associated Press in the New York Times

– – – –  –

Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves Get a Boost on Road to Recovery

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service retakes helm of Mexican wolf management

Contacts: Eva Sargent, Defenders of Wildlife, (520) 834-6441
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter (602) 999-5790
Matt Kenna, Western Environmental Law Center, (970) 385-6941 x 131
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity (575) 534-0360
Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project (520) 623-1878
Kim Crumbo, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council (928) 638-2304

TUCSON, Ariz. (Nov. 13, 2009) — The Mexican gray wolf recovery effort took a pivotal turn in the right direction today as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclaimed its decision-making authority over management of this highly endangered animal that roams Arizona and New Mexico’s backcountry.

Settling a lawsuit brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild. Read the rest of this entry »

Government Leaves [Mexican] Wolf Pack in the Wild

Great news ! :
Government Leaves [Mexican] Wolf Pack in the Wild KUNM – FM radio

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not remove a wolf pack from the wild in southwestern New Mexico. Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle ruled last week that the Middle Fork Pack is highly valuable genetically to the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program.

NM man pleads guilty in Mexican wolf death

Rare justice for a dead Mexican wolf-

NM man pleads guilty in wolf death. By Susan Montoya Bryan. Associated Press Writer

Conservation groups petition for more legal protection for the Mexican wolf

Several efforts underway to save this failing restoration program-

AP Story. Groups push for special wolf protections. By Susan Montoya Bryan.

From the Center for Biological Diversity. Center for Biological Diversity Petitions for Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

Editorial opinion: Let science lift number of Mexican gray wolves

As a note, David Parsons was director of the Mexican wolf recovery program in its early and more successful years. His Bush boss fired him. Several years ago, he won our “Alpha Award” (awarded by the Wolf Recovery Foundation).

Let science lift number of Mexican gray wolves. By Rich Fredrickson and David Parsons. The Arizona Republic.

More on the problems with the recovery of the Mexican wolf

Benjamin Tuggle, the Southwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gets a letter from Jon Marvel-

An article and a link to Marvel’s full letter is in a post on Demarcated Landscapes. This is a good illustration why cowpersons and cow politicians don’t like Marvel . . . . he tells Tuggle legal truths like . . .

“Ranchers have no legal right to keep cattle or sheep on public lands, they have a license or permit to graze livestock under very specific conditions through their ten year term grazing permit from the Forest Service or the BLM. Those permits are revocable at any time for cause, and can have their terms and conditions changed annually should the federal agencies involved choose to do so.”

. . . . . .

“Some conditions that would be very helpful include:

1. Requiring ranchers to remove all dead or injured cattle or sheep from public lands within three days of receiving knowledge of their presence to prevent wolves becoming accustomed to eating livestock.

2. Disallowing grazing of domestic livestock within five miles of a wolf pack den or rendezvous site.

3. Requiring a rider or herder to be present 7 days a week 24 hours a day with all livestock (human presence is a major deterrent to wolf predation on livestock).

4. Requiring calves turned out on public land to weigh at least 250 pounds.

5. Requiring that all calving or lambing of domestic livestock be carried out on private lands.

6. Requiring protective guard animals like dogs, lamas and burros to be present with all livestock.

7. Requiring all livestock losses to be documented accurately to prevent mendacious claims that wolves are predating.

8. Requiring electric fencing of all domestic sheep bands every night.”

The very real threat posed by the Mexican wolf recovery program. . . .

This article appeared in Demarcated Landscapes.

Who’s Afraid of…

On the Mexican wolf recovery program-

“The [Mexican] wolves will go extinct,” Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, says. “If the program is continued exactly the way it is now, these wolves will go extinct.”

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In my view the federal government’s Mexican Wolf Recovery program is one of the most screwed up, politicized, and incompetent recovery programs the federal government has ever done. Wolves reproduce rapidly, and while we should not expect the rapid population growth here like the wolves in the northern Rockies because the Mexican wolf is extinct in the wild, there is plenty of prey and the Mexican wolves usually adapt  quickly to the wild, have pups, and their pups have pups if the federal government doesn’t shot them first.

Recovery was on track until 2003 when the Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement establishing the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (“A MOC”). The local livestock operators are required to do even less than their counterparts in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It’s like leaving their truck full of fuel, with keys in the ignition, and their credit card on the seat.

As a result, now the population is stagnant, having declined to 50 animals. It is like a minor “put and take” fishery. Note that this analogy is not original with me. Ralph Maughan

Who’s Afraid of… The big bad wolf? When it comes to New Mexico’s recovery program, the real fear is the wolves won’t be saved. By Laura Paskus. Sante Fe Reporter.

Groups Seek Federal Probe of NM Wolf Pup Deaths

3 Mexican wolf pups were found dead after their den was abandoned.  Some speculate human activity around the den prompted the wolves to leave.

Groups Seek Federal Probe of NM Wolf Pup DeathsAP

The agency said the mother left scratch marks from her efforts to get the pups out of a deep crevice in the den.

Why was there so much human activity around the den site ? :

Officials had been monitoring the pack’s alpha male because it was linked to four livestock killings within the past year.

Read the letteracrobat pdf from conservation groups to Interior Secretary Salazar requesting an investigation.

Wolf pups rescued; some found dead

Some worry that Mexican Gray wolf pups were abandoned due to human activity near densite.

Wolf pups rescued; some found dead
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN – Associated Press Writer

Victory in Mexican wolf lawsuit

Legal success is only a first step, however-

Judge sides with environmentalists in wolf case.
By Susan Montoya Bryan. Associated Press Writer.

The victory was that the judge rejected the federal government’s motion to throw the case out.

A new web site, Lobos of the Southwest

Lobos of the Southwest is the first website totally devoted to the conservation of the Mexican wolf, although there is an “anti” web site.

This is a much needed development.

Lobos of the Southwest.

2008 Mexican wolf count official — 52 wolves

2008 was a year of no growth. It ended with 2 breeding pairs of wolves-

Update (2/6/09) Feds: Killings hamper Mexican wolf populationAP

Update (2/6/09) CBD Press Release – Mexican Wolf Breeding Pairs Drop to Two in 2008: Federal Trapping and Shooting Brings Reintroduced Population of Endangered Species to Brink of Collapse

~ be

Here is the news release from USFWS

– – – – –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Southwest Region (Arizona ● New Mexico ● Oklahoma ●Texas)

Public Affairs Office; PO Box 1306

Albuquerque, NM 87103


505/248-6915 (Fax)

News Release

For Release: February 6, 2009

Contacts: Jeff Humphrey, 505-248-6909 or 602-680-0853


A total of 52 Mexican wolves were counted in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2008, according to the annual survey conducted by the Interagency Field Team for wolf reintroduction. There were also 52 Mexican wolves recorded in the 2007 survey. Surveys are conducted in January of each year. Pups born in the summer must survive to December 31 to be counted as part of the Mexican wolf population. Fixed-wing aircraft and functional radio-telemetry were used to confirm five wolf packs on New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, five packs on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona, and six lone wolves – two in Arizona and four in New Mexico. The survey indicated that there were only two pairs that met the federal definition of breeding pairs at year’s end.

Of the 52 wolves, 45 were born in the wild. One captive born female wolf (F836) was released to the wild in 2008. In 2008, one wolf was temporarily captured twice after dispersing outside of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, but the animal was translocated back into the recovery area on both occasions. In previous years, wolves were removed because of livestock depredation, for dispersing outside of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area or repeated nuisance behavior. No such wolves were removed in 2008. Illegal shooting was the leading cause of documented loss of wolves in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers are watching Minnesota wolves to help Mexican wolves.

Researchers are watching Minnesota wolves as they seek ways to rebuild packs of endangered Mexican wolves in the Southwestern United States.

By Tom Meersman. Star Tribune

after all the human disruption in nature, it has finally come to this…

You can read the article here.

Posted in conservation, endangered species act, Mexican wolves, Wildlife Habitat, Wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on Researchers are watching Minnesota wolves to help Mexican wolves.

Another Mexican wolf shot

Fewer than 50 now?

Gray wolf’s shooting death under investigation. Associated Press. KSWT News

This program simply has to undergo great revision by the new leadership at USFWS (this leadership has not yet been announced). Feds: Mexican gray wolf plan needs updating. By Susan Montoya Bryan. Associated Press.

Endangered Species Act 35th anniversary and wolves

Today is the 35th anniversary of the ESA. Michael J. Robinson wrote the essay below for this forum-

Thirty five years ago today, on December 28, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act, intended not just to stave off extinction, but more broadly to conserve the ecosystems on which endangered species depend.

Natural ecosystems can exhibit a tremendous resilience as plants and animals adapt to new opportunities and threats to their survival and reproduction. The Endangered Species Act itself displays some of the dynamic resilience of ecosystems.

As the Bush administration attempts for a fourth time to remove from the endangered species list one of the first creatures placed on the list – the gray wolf – it is worth noting that the federal agency that originally brought wolves to the brink of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with a stroke of a pen thirty-five years ago was charged with protecting them. Its old habits have been hard to change.

Read the rest of this entry »

Conservationists Request Feds Replace Photo of Mexican Wolf

‘Poster Wolf’ Was One of 18 Rare Mexican Wolves Killed Through Capture; Altogether, More Than 2,900 Gray Wolves Killed-

Conservation groups are fed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continuing to use the photo of a particular Mexican wolf as their “poster wolf,” after they trapped and accidentally killed her back in 2005.

They are also angry that government wolf management is becoming more and more lethal even though the wolf population has stopped growing in size and is showing signs of collapse inside Yellowstone Park.  Ralph Maughan

News Release-

SILVER CITY, N.M.­ Sixteen conservation and animal welfare organizations today asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to replace the photograph of the “poster wolf” of the Mexican gray wolf program – prominently displayed on the federal agency’s website,, and in a oversized blowup poster at the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters – because the wolf was trapped and inadvertently killed in 2005. (Click here to read letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service).

“Brunhilda,” alpha female of the Francisco Pack of Mexican gray wolves. Photo by George Andrejko.

The wolf was one of at least 2,911 gray wolves killed as a result of Fish and Wildlife Service actions since 1996, most in the northern Rocky Mountains and upper Midwest, but also including 29 highly imperiled Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest (see attached charts).

Read the rest of this entry »

Conservationists make a formal petition for a new Mexican wolf plan

The plan from 1982 has failed. Wolf population is low and stagnant-

The prominent conservation groups are petitioning under the Administration Procedures Act for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to meet it legal obligations to recovery the Mexican wolf (with a new plan).

As David Parsons of the Rewildling Institute has said this has become a put and take wolf program. His group is one of the petitioners.

Here is the news release with a link to the petition.

[Mexican] Wolf recovery can succeed

Mexican Gray WolfBenjamin Tuggle, Southwest regional director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has published an Op-Ed in the Arizona Republic:

Wolf recovery can succeed

The Op-Ed is released, likely to smooth things over, amidst recent controversy in response to inaction on the part of FWS including at least 2 lawsuits and a recent poll demonstrating southwesterners [overwhelmingly] want wolves (77 percent of Arizonans and 69 percent of New Mexicans support wolf reintroduction on public lands).

The Mexican gray wolf is considered by scientists as the most endangered mammal in North America and efforts at restoration have been stymied, the greatest threat to Mexican wolves being predator control actions enforced on behalf of the livestock industry.

Federal Cash Brings Reward for Information on Illegal Wolf Killings to $50,000

For Immediate Release, July 3, 2008

Contact: Rob Edward, WildEarth Guardians, (303) 573-4898 ext. 762,
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360,
Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project, (520) 623-1878
Daniel R. Patterson, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, (520) 906-2159

Federal Cash Brings Reward for Information on Illegal Wolf Killings to $50,000

SILVER CITY, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the illegal killing of Mexican gray wolves, adding to the $40,000 already pledged by wildlife and conservation groups. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed three additional wolf deaths due to illegal killing.

The announcement comes at a time when conservationists are redoubling efforts to end federal killing and capture of Mexican wolves to address ongoing population declines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Public’s call of the wild (on recent Mexican wolf survey)

Public’s call of the wild. The Arizona Republic.

Earlier on this web site. Southwesterners want wolves.

Southwesterners Want Wolves !

WWPblog links to a poll released today which demonstrates that Southwesterners Want Wolves – by a hefty margin no less !

Update : Reconquistas !Demarcated Landscapes

As many know, the restoration of the Mexican wolf to the southwest has been obstructed by Fish & Wildlife Service’s unabashed placation of the livestock industry – a policy which has spurred environmental groups to file a couple of important lawsuits recently. Hopefully, the law and the public support will be enough to spur FWS to take a long look at its policy, change it, and get on managing for the public rather than just for a tiny interest group in the Southwest.


Western Watersheds was a co-sponsor the poll. It was one of a large number of groups.

I was away in Nevada. Brian Ertz, serving as webmaster, began this thread with the post above. He linked to the WWP blog, as you can see above.

When Janet White said WWP cosponsored the poll, I hadn’t heard about it, and I couldn’t see our name on it anywhere, I said no we didn’t. I should have checked more carefully because the story was right there on the WWP blog.

So yes WWP put some resources into the matter. The poll was done by a well regarded polling firm. The groups that sponsored the poll did not ask the questions.

I was wrong, but so what? Seems like an important story to me.

. . .  and a lesson to me, not to be sloppy.

Ralph Maughan

Ranchers fighting comeback of a predator that’s good for the land

An excellent article about the Mexican wolf. Ranchers fighting comeback of a predator that’s good for the land. by Linda Valdez. The Arizona Republic.

Mexican Wolf – Wolf Managers Turn Down Governor and Scientists on Wolf Rule

For Immediate Release, May 16, 2008

Contacts:        Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360
Stephen Capra, (505) 843-8696
Greta Anderson, (520) 623-1878

Wolf Managers Turn Down Governor and Scientists on Wolf Rule,
17 Conservation Groups Write to Oppose Anti-Wolf Policy

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week, the interagency Mexican wolf reintroduction team refused New Mexico governor Bill Richardson’s request to suspend and ultimately change the controversial wolf removal policy known as SOP 13, the rule that requires the permanent removal from the wild of any wolf involved in three fatal livestock depredation incidents over a one-year period.

These trappings and shootings disrupt the wolves’ highly structured family groups, separate mated pairs, and can leave pups without parents. They also reduce the genetic diversity of a population based on only seven founding animals.
Read the rest of this entry »

There are now two lawsuits against the rule governing the Mexican wolf restoration

Second Suit In 2 Days Targets Wolf Program. By Rene Romo. ABQJournal Southern Bureau

WildEarth Guardians and The Rewilding Institute sue on the failing Mexican wolf program

Forest Guardians and Sinapu merge

Two prominent regional groups have merged to form WildEarth Guardians.

Here is the generic AP story. Green groups combine efforts.

Here is the longer story as written on Wild Again (Sinapu’s blog).  Conservation Groups Merge To Create a Force of Nature for the American West’’s Wild Places, Wildlife and Wild Rivers.

Posted in Mexican wolves. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Forest Guardians and Sinapu merge

NPR: Government Revisits Contested Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

On National Public Radio, this is mostly audio, Government Revisits Contested [Mexican] Wolf Recovery Plan. By Ted Robbins.

For those who like it by ear, this is an overview of the current controversy, government efforts for a better plan, and the incipient failure of the Mexican wolf restoration.

Posted in Mexican wolves, politics, Wolf dispersal, Wolves, Wolves and Livestock. Comments Off on NPR: Government Revisits Contested Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

Conservationists Request Investigations of Reported Mexican Wolf Baiting

Conservation groups have taken action after the story about ranch hands luring wolves in so they will kill calves, so the wolves will then killed by the government “to protect the livestock.”

For Immediate Release, January 3, 2008

Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360

Conservationists Request Investigations of Reported Wolf Baiting

SILVER CITY, N.M.— Fifteen conservation groups wrote Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today requesting an independent inspector general investigation into a reported baiting of endangered Mexican gray wolves. The baiting scheme, in which vulnerable cattle were allegedly left near a wolf den, resulted in a rare wolf being shot by the federal government.

The letter to Kempthorne states in part: “The possibility that illegal take was perpetrated through abuse of government-provided telemetry radio receivers and through taking advantage of SOP 13, the rigid predator-control protocol applied to Mexican wolves, merits thorough investigation.”

Conservationists are also requesting a law enforcement investigation, retrieval of radio telemetry receivers that may be used to facilitate illegal baiting, and release back into the wild of trapped wolves that may also have been baited on the same ranch. In addition, in separate letters to the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the concerned groups request the cancelation of grazing permits.

According to the December 24, 2007 High Country News article that broke the wolf-baiting story, ranch employee Mike Miller “branded cattle less than a half-mile from the wolves’ den, the enticing aroma of seared flesh surely reaching the pack’s super-sensitive nostrils. Miller was, in essence, offering up a cow as a sacrifice.” In fact, the article quotes Miller as saying: “We would sacrifice a calf to get a third strike” — referring to depredations in the so-called “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule governing the Mexican wolves, formally known as SOP 13. Miller is quoted in a subsequent Albuquerque Journal article as denying that he made such an admission.

The conservationists’ letters specifically seek the following actions:

  • A law enforcement investigation of the incident described in the magazine High Country News, along with prosecution if merited.
  • An independent inspector general investigation of whether wolves were removed from the same ranch subsequent to the Fish and Wildlife Service learning about the alleged baiting, the granting of government telemetry receivers to the livestock industry and/or rogue county governments, and related questions.
  • Cancellation of grazing and outfitting permits held by any person found to have baited wolves. (The foreign-owned ranch where the incident is alleged to have taken place holds multiple Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and state grazing permits.)

Michael J. Robinson
Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 53166
Pinos Altos, NM 88053
(575) 534-0360

Here is the letter to the Secretary of Interior (Dirk Kempthorne)


– – – – –

Update: Story in the ABQ Journal-News. Conservationists Want Probe Into Reports of Wolf Baiting

Catron County ranch hand deliberately sacrifices livestock so Mexican wolves can be killed

This long story below in High Country News describes an illegal tactics being used to make sure the “dangerous” dozen or so Mexican wolves in this lawless county don’t fare well. Last chance for the Lobo. John Dougherty. High Country News.

The federal government should step up, pull grazing permits, take away radio telemetry, and make sure their personnel are protected. This isn’t just about wolves, it is about a place in New Mexico which for years has been allowed to violate the wildlife and public land laws of the United States and New Mexico, abuse your public land, and get away with it.

I first learned about Catron County in the 1990s when they were in the news for violating grazing laws and asserting the bullshit doctrine of country supremacy to the laws of the United States. An “environmentalist” who had stood up to the local strongarm tactics attended a political science conference in Colorado Springs. She gave a presentation on the lawlessness of the area. She actually had to live in a safe house.

Presidential candidate Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, would do well to send sufficient law enforcement into the area to maintain order and restore the rule of law.

News Release from the Center for Biological Diversity asking for action.

Ranch hand disputes claim that he lured endangered wolf.

Arizona Republic says concern for cows has been too much in the Mexican wolf recovery

This is exactly what I think needs to be said. Finally someone realized that preventing extinction of this small wolf is more important than the cows, whose owners lose little if anything.

Let wolves prosper. Editorial. Arizona Republic.

Public discusses new Mexican wolf-recovery plan

Currently on the brink of failure due to low population numbers and excessive killing due to alleged conflicts with livestock, the rule governing the management of the Mexican wolves is being updated and your comments are needed. Right now they are in the part of the NEPA process called “scoping” — to determine the scope and range of issues and opportunities.

Here is the notice in the Federal Register.

Defenders of Wildlife is recommending the following changes:

Allow wolves to roam beyond the current artificial boundaries to find suitable habitat and prey.

• Resolve livestock-wolf conflicts in ways that keep wolves in the wild and achieve progress toward reintroduction objectives.
• Revise the service’s 25-year-old recovery plan.
• Allow opportunities to expand wolf reintroduction to other areas in the future.

Your comments are due Dec. 31. You can email them in to:

Defenders page on “recovery of the Lobo

Western Watersheds Project on commenting on the Mexican wolf.

Mexican wolf population statistics (government page)

Entire wolf pack of rare Mexican Wolves Missing in Gila National Forest

Wolves Missing In Gila Forest. By Rene Romo. Copyright © 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Southern Bureau

Update: Governor Richardson: Disappearance of wolf pack is ‘disturbing.’ As we know, Governor Richardson is running for President. One way to show leadership in the area domestic terrorism would be to clean up the long-term trouble-makers in the area. The Catron County area has been dangerous for a long time, which threats and assaults on federal land management officers, local conservationists, violation of grazing, ESA and other public land laws.

Report: Despite Mexican wolves, elk OK

The number of elk in the part of New Mexico where the Mexican wolves have become reestablished has increased.

Of course the number of wolves is trivial — only 59 in the entire recovery area due to the defective recovery plan, and the many mistakes and political blockages placed on the Mexican wolf restoration program.

Story: Report: Despite wolves, elk OK. By The Associated Press as published in Las Cruces Sun-News.

Forest Service rubberstamps grazing in Mexican wolf territory

The Mexican wolf has many strikes against is restoration. The was allowed to become extinct in the wild, so every sucessfully “rewilded” wolf is very valuable. It’s territory has been artificially limited to “the box,” a relatively small area bestride the Arizona-New Mexico border. It’s restoration area, some of which is designated wilderness, is mostly full of cattle, many of them poorly attended to with dead cows allowed to fester and attract scavengers, including wolves.

Wild Again has a disturbing article how the US Forest Service is rubberstamping grazing permits on the Gila National Forest. Well, In the midst of New Mexico’s Wolf Awareness Week, Forest Guardians and Sinapu filed suit in federal district court . . . to overturn all decisions in which the Forest Service allowed livestock grazing on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico without public participation or consideration of impacts to endangered species.

Full Story at Wild Again (Sinapu)

It’s “National Wolf Awareness Week”

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson went to far as to declare this unofficial week.

“Wolf Awareness Week” declared in New Mexico .

Federal Investigation Sought into Intimidation of Wolf Biologist by Rogue Federal Agency

Remember this recent story? Wolf biologist says federal wildlife agent pointed rifle at her. Rocky Barker Idaho Statesman.

The incident won’t die, but an investigation by the Catron County Sheriff’s Department will have no credibility.

Federal Investigation Sought into Intimidation of Wolf Biologist by Rogue Federal Agency. Press Release. Forest Guardians

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Posted in Mexican wolves, politics, predator control. Comments Off on Federal Investigation Sought into Intimidation of Wolf Biologist by Rogue Federal Agency

Feds ask public for input to aid recovery of Mexican Gray Wolves

FWS intends to modify the Mexican Gray wolf recovery rules given the disappointing recovery thus far. As many wolves died so far this year as pups born.

Feds ask for input on gray wolves program

55 or less remain in Arizona and New Mexico, far fewer than the 102 hoped for by 2006. FWS has killed or otherwise removed 53 wolves since 1998 given the restrictive rules of the recovery plan – which among other things contain the wolves in the ‘Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area’.

In 2006, Center for Biological Diversity filed suit when FWS failed to respond to the Center’s legal petition to alter the rules.

Here is the Center’s full press release.

And here is a blog post on the Huffington Post by Glenn Hurowitz that grants kudos to New Mexico’s Governor, and Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Richardson for his call to end federal policy which kills Mexican gray wolves.

Addition Aug. 10. From the Albuquerque Tribune. Commentary: It’s time to confront policies that harm Mexican gray wolf numbers. By Melissa Hailey.
“Stymied by political interference, the [Mexican] wolf recovery program has been a marked failure. If federal managers continue to swap science for politics when it comes to wolf management, both the lobos and the will of the American people may be lost forever.”

Gila Mothers are Not Afraid of Wolves

Gila mothers not afraid of wolves. Article Launched: 07/29/2007 01:00:00 AM MDT. By Denise Blake, Jennifer Bjornstad, Juniper Bowers, Jane Bruemmer, Dulcie Clarkson, Jamie Crockett, Teleah Dabbs, Carol Fugagli, Melanie Gasparich, Samira Johnson and Jennifer Sprague. SilverCity Sun-News.

These local women are responding to a fear-mongering ag lobbying who is using the standard, the wolves are going to a child or someone.

It’s my impression that if someone is afraid of wolves, the probability is it will be a man living in a rural area. Women in these areas are often made of more solid stuff.

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Rocky Barker’s blog: Wolf biologist says federal wildlife agent pointed rifle at her

I missed this story while I was in Yellowstone last week.

This incident involves the Mexican wolves.

Barker’s blog.

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Wolf Tug-of-War in the Southwest

In case folks haven’t picked up on what Mary is posting about, it’s about the removal (gov’t killing of Mexican wolf) of wolf AF924k. She was thought by many in the locality to be an especially dangerous wolf. Wolf supporters thought her to be an especially valuable wolf because of her good genetics and the fact that she had wild born pups. Wolf supporters have been saying for some time that local livestock growers don’t clean up the carcasses of dead livestock.

See here are some stories on this controversy.


Wolf Tug-of-War in the Southwest

Jess Edberg, Information Services Director — International Wolf Center, 07/10/2007

Conflict between livestock producers and the reintroduced Mexican wolf population has remained steady since the first release of captive-reared wolves in 1998.

Emotions are running high in Catron County, New Mexico, after the lethal removal of a female Mexican wolf that had been seen near a family ranch. Wolf AF924 was released in the county on April 25 after being relocated due to depredation.

Wolf AF924, of the Durango pack, killed two cows previous to being released in Catron County. She was involved in a third depredation of a cow and calf that occurred late last month within the Durango pack territory. This recent depredation incident is the third strike against her.

In accordance with the rules of the 1998 program to reintroduce endangered Mexican wolves to Arizona and New Mexico, a wolf with three depredations on its record within one year must be removed permanently from the wild by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Removal can be in the form of removing the wolf from the wild and placing it in captivity or by lethal control—killing the wolf.

The removal of AF924 came as a relief to many residents in the Durango pack area. Previous to the current depredation investigation, residents in the area had appealed to the county for action against the wolf. They stated that AF924 was a threat to human safety, requiring fearful residents to arm themselves with pistols as they walked to the mailbox or ventured into their yard. A psychiatrist also diagnosed a teenage girl with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the presence of AF924 on her family’s ranch.

Catron County commissioners took immediate action and filed a notice with the USFWS that county officials would trap AF924 themselves and turn her over to the USFWS for removal.

The USFWS responded to the county with a letter stating that although the agency understood the presence of this wolf might be disconcerting, there was no evidence that AF924 was an imminent danger to humans and, therefore, there was no reason to remove her. The USFWS also reminded the commissioners that a county ordinance does not supersede the federal Endangered Species Act.

With the recent depredation, however, the USFWS took action with a lethal removal order on July 3. AF924’s mate, AM973, is also implicated in the livestock kill, but this would be the first strike against him. AF924 was shot and killed by USFWS agents on July 5.

This depredation incident comes on the heels of a failed attempt by Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM) to get the House to approve two amendments targeted at restricting the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. Representative Pearce argued that the program has failed primarily due to depredation.

Conflict between livestock producers and the reintroduced Mexican wolf population has remained steady since the first release of captive-reared wolves in 1998.

However, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful, expressed dismay at the USFWS policy to lethally remove depredating wolves.

“I strongly support the effective recovery of endangered Mexican wolves in the Southwest, done in a responsible and sensitive way,” said Governor Richardson “Changes must be made to the protocol for the wolf reintroduction program.”

The USFWS did not comment on Governor Richardson’s statement but did comment on the removal of AF924 in a previous meeting.

Elizabeth Slown, public affairs specialist for the USFWS, told the media that they want to take care of AF924’s pups and her mate AM974.

“We want the male to take over the care of the pups,” Slown said. “That’s why we didn’t set traps [to remove AF924]. We didn’t want to chance catching the male and causing too much stress on the pack.”

USFWS plans to supplement AF924’s pups and her mate AM974 with road-killed elk.

For more details on the removal of AF924, see the monthly report available later this month at


Sinapu has a story too.

Wildlife officials in N.M. shoot wolf after her third cattle kill

Story in the El Defensor Chieftain. Tuesday, July 3, 2007 (local newspaper)
[Rep] Pearce’s amendment to end wolf program is defeated. The local congressman tried to get the Mexican wolf program ended.


A lot of scientists were very unhappy about the termination of this wolf.

Hundreds of Scientists Warned Against Wolf Killing Before Feds Shot New Mexico Wolf. Governor Richardson’s Demand for Reform Echoes Scientists.’ News release in Common Dreams

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Center for Biological Diversity echoes Richardson’s outrage over killing rare Mexican wolf

Posted in Mexican wolves. Comments Off on Center for Biological Diversity echoes Richardson’s outrage over killing rare Mexican wolf

Governor Richardson to the rescue of the Mexican wolf program?

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, the presidential candidate with perhaps the most impressive combined resume of legislative, foreign policy, and actual management experience of the many presidential candidates, today issued this news release about the Mexican wolf recovery program.

Office of the Governor


Bill Richardson


For Immediate Release Contact: Gilbert Gallegos

July 6, 2007 505-476-2217

Governor Richardson Seeks to Change Protocols for Mexican Wolf Recovery Program

SANTA FE – Governor Richardson seeks to change key protocols for the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program following a recent wolf kill incident in southwestern New Mexico.

“I am deeply concerned about the recent escalation in wolf removals and incidents surrounding yesterday’s lethal removal of a female wolf,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “State Police are investigating the incident and are collecting the facts as this investigation takes its course.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Conservationists Request Suspension of Mexican Wolf-Killing “Predator Control” Policy

This important story on the Mexican wolves is from Wild Again, the Sinapu blog.  The story has also been in a number of newspapers the last day or so.

 Conservationists Request Suspension of Mexican Wolf-Killing “Predator Control” Policy

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Catron County targets new wolf

This is an attempt to remove yet another of the very endangered Mexican wolves who are now down to just 4 breeding pairs in the wild. Removal of this wolf would make it just 3 breeding pairs. Worse still, this female wolf is pregnant.

Because the Mexican wolves were derived from just 8 wolves, (they were that close to extinction) lack of genetic diversity is a serious issue. It is not just the small population size.

Catron County, NM has passed a county ordinance that they say trumps the federal government. They say they can kill a wolf if they please. This is flat out unconstitutional. This particular county has a habit of arguing the county is supreme to the nation-state. Catron County has long been the home of the county supremacy movement and assorted militia types. They need to be taught a lesson in jail, but it won’t happen under the weak-kneed Bush Administration.

Brief news story. County wants female wolf removed from the wild. Free New

Added May 2. Here is more on the county supremacy movement. County Supremacy – Just Another Wise Use Ruse. by Ted Williams. The article emphasizes the rule of Catron County.

Added May 8. USFWS will leave the wolf in the wild. KVOA News.

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Divide Wide Over Mexican Wolf Program

This is bad news for the struggling Mexican wolf program, but the blame is on these rural counties who for years have believed that obeying the law is optional. I am not just badmouthing them, this was heart of county secession, militia movement back in the 1990s.

Story in the Las Cruces Sun News. AP

The fact that the psychologist mention in the story, found that children in the area startled more easily now than before wolf reintroduction and were “clingy” with their parents, is just what you’d expect if their parents were telling them that there were big bad wolves all around ready to gobble them up. I expect scaring the children also results in  reports from frightened children who bring back an exaggerated story to their parents, who then reinforce the cycle of fear and recrimination.

Fear, including this irrational fear, is very contagious. There is social pathology here.

Yet another removal order issued for a rare Mexican wolf

The Country Formerly Known as Wolf?

By Halina Szyposzynski


The military has its “five-o’clock follies.”  The Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Work Group (MWAMWG) has its “quarterly quirks.”  Items from the January 27th meeting: 


·         After receiving complaints from Greenlee County residents, wolf managers are removing the phrase “Wolf Country” from signage advising of wolf presence in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.  Apparently, this language has offended the sensitivities of wolf opponents.  Shooting sports enthusiasts throughout the Recovery Area will appreciate that the revised signs, as compared to the current ones, are expected to be of equal target practice value.  Perhaps greater, being fresh.


·         A proposed compensation and incentive plan, currently in its conceptual stage, would establish a non-governmental fund to pay ranchers for tolerating wolves.  Its possible structure? A board composed of local residents – none of whom are offended by the phrase “Wolf Country” –  would evaluate livestock loss claims and adjudicate compensation amounts.  Ranchers would be paid to take proactive measures to reduce livestock predation, examples of which did not include carcass removal or liming.  Ranchers would also receive payments for each loss attributed (conceptually?) to wolves.  Presumably, the bank cutting the checks would have a board of directors, composed of as yet unspecified parties.  The audience was assured that “this is not the fox guarding the henhouse.”


Payments could be made in advance for the anticipated livestock loss increase attributed to wolf presence,  above some hypothetically normal rate of loss.  Payments could be based on the number of living wolves or pups produced;  the problem with this option is that it requires an actual increase in living wolves and pups.  Alternatively, payments could be based on the number of cows grazed, on public lands.  No word yet on whether rates of lightning, starvation, illness or falling off cliffs, which cause the vast majority of cattle losses, are also expected to increase. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Mexican wolf alpha to bite the dust

By Jean Ossorio.

The alpha male of the San Mateo pack–one of the handful of breeding pairs (six or seven, depending on how you interpret the definition in the Final Rule) at the end of 2006–has been slapped with a removal order by the USFWS for a third livestock depredation within 365 days. The rest of the pack (an alpha female and a couple of last year’s pups) are apparently not under the same order.

This pack formed in 2004 when a wild-born Cienega disperser (AM796) paired up with an uncollared female (AF903, who turned out to be a wild born disperser from the defunct Gapiwi Pack) in the San Mateo mountains, outside the recovery area in New Mexico. They were caught (although pups presumably born before they were captured were never found) and released back in the recovery area in New Mexico, only to vote with their feet and head right back to their old haunts. A second translocation put them in the Arizona section of the recovery area. The past couple of years they have made the east side of Escudilla Mountain in Arizona and adjacent New Mexico their home territory. A yearling from this pack died in November 2006, apparently killed by members of the Bluestem pack encroaching on San Mateo territory.
See the FWS news release at-

Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Are Dangerously Low. Only Six Breeding Pairs Cling To Life In The Wild

Although the recovery of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies has been pretty successful, recovery of the smaller, sub-species Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico, has been poor.

Ten years after they began to be reintroduced, there are only 6 breeding pairs in the two states, and as the article below states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be counting breeding pairs in a way that exaggerates the numbers.

The Service announced that at the end of 2006 there were 59 Mexican wolves and 6 breeding pairs. The 59 is, however, an improvement over last year when they estimated only 35 to 49 wolves in the wild. Back in 1996, the Service estimated that by now (ten years) there would be 18 pairs, rather than just 6 pairs.

The reasons for the lack of success are obvious. The most important is that the wolves are restricted to an artificial box of rugged country on the Arizona/New Mexico border and are not allowed to spread out as the Northern Rockies wolves were. There is not enough room in the box for very many packs, and the Service keeps trapping those that leave to re-imprison them in this administrative box consisting of nothing but lines on a map. In the process of reboxing the wolves, this year 8 wolves were unintentionally killed in events related to their capture.

Article Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Are Dangerously Low. E-wire.

Regulations Fence Out Successful [Mexican] Wolf Reintroduction

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit Dec. 14 to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement reforms to the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program that a scientific panel had urged back in June 2001.

This was a wolf restoration program that was designed in a way that it could not possibly succeed. Imagine the Northern Rockies wolf restoration if the wolves had been confined to the boundaries of Yellowstone Park, and a Yellowstone Park with fewer elk, and full of cows managed by indolent ranchers.

Here is the story on the lawsuit by Michael J. Robinson of Center for Biological Diversity.

A successful lawsuit will help, but the parameters for this program are incompatible with recovery. There will never be but a token population of Mexican wolves unless fundamental changes are made.

Close Wolf Encounters; Brushes Between Kids and Lobos Leave Parents Fearful

This time it’s from the Southwest. Wolves circle some people and they decide the wolves were about to attack. As the recent postings on the Yellowstone photographers, the bow hunter who said he was trapped in his tent, and the several cases of wolves “following people” in the last year in Idaho, what is being reported is not wolf behavior so much as how people perceive wolf behavior. That perception depends on their level of knowledge and the culture they are from.

Story on the fearful parents, etc. Albuquerque Journal. Note that the link has expired. . . .  webmaster

Mexican wolf restoration update for October

Endangered Species Updates
November 13, 2006
MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION PROJECT NEWS. Monthly Status Report: October 1 – 31, 2006
The following is a summary of Mexican wolf reintroduction project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and in New Mexico on the Gila National Forest (GNF), collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area (BRWRA). Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at Past updates may also be viewed on either Web site, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR). Other entities cooperate through the Adaptive Management Work Group that meets quarterly in Arizona and/or New Mexico, including private individuals, organizations and tribes.To view the wolf distribution map, which contains the most recent three months of wolf aerial locations, please visit Under “Mexican Wolf Conservation and Management,” scroll down to the links under “Distribution.”Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD’s 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at 1-800-352-0700.Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 18 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 18 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.Definitions: For the purposes of the Monthly Update, a “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established home range. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars sometimes form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are reasonably resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.CURRENT POPULATION STATUSAs of the end of October, the collared population consisted of 28* wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among nine packs and four single wolves.* See the Bluestem, Hawks Nest and Rim packs, single M973 and M1044 on the FAIR, Arizona, below for more detailed information.SEASONAL NEWS

The IFT has confirmed wild born pups in the Bluestem, Rim and San Mateo packs in Arizona; in the Aspen, Luna and Saddle packs in New Mexico; and suspect pups with the Middle Fork pack in New Mexico.


Bluestem Pack (collared AF521, M990, m991, m1041 and f1042)
Throughout October, the IFT located the pack both within and outside their traditional home range on the FAIR and ASNF, with M990 and m991 continuing to exhibit dispersal behavior. On the October 2 aerial telemetry flight, the IFT located AF521 and m991 on the ASNF, and located M990 approximately five miles to the northeast, also on the ASNF. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT located the pack northeast of their traditional home range in the north-central portion of the primary recovery area. On October 13, the IFT captured two pups associated with AF521 and assigned them studbook numbers m1041 and f1042. The pups were in excellent condition, and the IFT fitted them with radio collars and released them on site. On the October 16 telemetry flight, the IFT located AF521, m1041 and f1042 together in the central portion of their home range on the ASNF. The IFT located M990 and M991 separate from the rest of the pack and each other, with M990 being in the far northwest portion of the BRWRA and m991 north of the pack’s traditional home range on the ASNF. On the October 31 telemetry flight, the IFT located AM521, m991, m1041 and f1042 more than 20 miles northeast of their home range in New Mexico in what is considered San Mateo pack territory.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM619 and AF486 with a non-functional collar)
Alpha M619 continued to use its traditional home range east of the Big Lake area on the ASNF. The IFT could not determine the presence of nor obtain a visual confirmation of AF486 due to a failed radio collar.

Meridian Pack (collared AM806 and f1028)
On September 24, during the course of intensive monitoring, the IFT discovered AF838 dead approximately seven miles south of Alpine, Arizona, on the ASNF. The circumstances of the wolf’s death are currently under investigation. Final necropsy results are pending from the USFWS’s National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, which will determine the cause of death. Individuals with information that they believe may be helpful regarding the wolf’s death should contact USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at 480-967-7900 or call the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700.

On the October 11 and 16 telemetry flights, the IFT located AM806 near the town of Luna, New Mexico, 17 miles northeast of its release site in Arizona. The IFT observed AM806 alone the following day and hazed it from the area. AM806 remained in the Luna area until October 17. On October 19, the IFT visually confirmed f1028 alone in the area of the Meridian pack release site in Arizona; however, on October 24, the IFT observed AM806 back in Arizona with f1028. On October 25, the IFT captured both AM806 and f1028, fitting f1028 with a radio collar and replacing the radio collar on AM806. On October 29, the IFT observed both AM806 and f1028 together in the vicinity of their release site near Middle Mountain.

Rim Pack (collared AF858, AM992 and m1043)
Throughout October, the IFT located the Rim pack within its traditional home range in the central portion of the ASNF. On October 1, the IFT observed three wolves with this pack. On October 22, the IFT captured a pup, assigned it studbook number m1043, fitted it with a radio collar and released it on site. On the October 30 telemetry flight, the IFT located the alpha pair on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), approximately three miles west of the ASNF border, and they located m1043 13 miles to the northeast on the ASNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903, m927 and AM796 with a non-functional collar)
During October, the San Mateo pack continued to use areas east of Escudilla Mountain near the Arizona/New Mexico border. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located the pack in the northwest portion of the GNF in New Mexico, but they had returned near the Arizona/New Mexico border by the October 11 telemetry flight. The IFT found the pack over 15 miles east of the New Mexico border on the October 16 telemetry flight; however, they had again returned to Arizona by the October 23 flight.

M973 (collared)
During early October, the IFT continued to document M973 in and around Greer, Arizona. On October 11, consistent with the nuisance behavior protocol in Standard Operating Procedure 13, the IFT captured M973 in the northwest portion of the BRWRA, and transported it to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico. Male 973 remains eligible for future translocation.


M1044 (collared)
On October 26, the IFT captured a male yearling on the FAIR and assigned it studbook number M1044. The IFT fitted the wolf with a radio collar and released it on site. During the October 31 telemetry flight, the IFT observed four uncollared wolves with M1044.


Aspen Pack (collared AF667, m1038, m1039, f1040 and uncollared AM512)
Throughout October, the IFT located the Aspen pack in the eastern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM583, m925 and uncollared AF562)
Alpha M583 and yearling m925 remained within their traditional home range in the central portion of the GNF and northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AF861 and AM871)
Throughout October, the IFT located AF861 and AM871 together in the central portion of the Gila Wilderness. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 with the Middle Fork pack.

Saddle Pack (collared AF797, AM732 and m1007)
During October, the Saddle pack continued to use its traditional home range in the southern portion of the GNF. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located m1007 north of the Saddle pack and within three miles of f924. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT observed AM732, based on characteristic coloration.

M859 (collared)
On the October 11 and 16 aerial telemetry flights, the IFT located M859 with f924 in the GNF, but found the two separated by approximately 10 miles on the October 23 telemetry flight and by over 20 miles on the October 30 flight.

f923 (collared)
On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 with the Middle Fork pack in the central portion of the Gila Wilderness. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 near Reserve, New Mexico. By the October 30 telemetry flight, f923 had traveled more than 30 miles to the northwest. On October 18, the IFT received a report that f923 had been caught in a non-project foothold trap. The IFT was unable to obtain a sighting of f923 or locate the trap; however, two days later, the IFT observed f923 without the trap.

f924 (collared)
On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f924 north of the Saddle pack and within three miles of m1007. On the October 11 and 16 telemetry flights, the IFT located f924 with M859 in the northern portion of the GNF, but found the two separated by approximately 10 miles on the October 23 telemetry flight and by over 20 miles on the October 30 flight.


On September 30, the IFT investigated a cow carcass in Catron County, New Mexico. The IFT investigation determined the kill to be a possible wolf depredation, but there were no wolves with radio collars in the area or any wolf sign discovered.

On October 11, the IFT investigated a dead horse in Apache County, Arizona. The IFT investigation determined that the horse died from a lightening strike.


On October 25, Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility personnel moved m1019 from the management facility at Sevilleta to the Rio Grande Zoo vet clinic for further veterinary care.


On October 6, Shawna Nelson, in cooperation with USFS personnel, provided four informal presentations to 84 first grade students from Coronado Elementary School in St. Johns as part of their annual field trip to Alpine, Arizona.

On October 6, Saleen Richter gave a presentation to 45 people at the “Natural History of the Gila: A Southwestern New Mexico Symposium” conference at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico.

On October 14, Maggie Dwire gave a presentation to 50 people at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge open house in New Mexico.

On October 11, Shawna Nelson and Shawn Farry provided a presentation to 16 community members of Greer, Arizona.

On October 11, Dan Groebner provided a presentation on the history of wolves in Arizona to 250 third grade students from Show Low Elementary School at the Show Low Historical Museum.

On October 14, Shawn Farry and John Oakleaf provided a presentation and led a field trip for 20 ASU and UofA students near Alpine, Arizona.

On October 14 and 15, Shawna Nelson, Krista Beazley and Dan Groebner worked an information booth for the Woodland Wild Country Expo in Pinetop, Arizona. Approximately 400 people attended this inaugural wildlife event.

On October 20, the Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) held a meeting in Clifton, Arizona. Agenda topics included translocations and new releases of Mexican wolves in 2006, depredation and wolf management activities and the 5-Year Review of the reintroduction project: the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee’s approach to acting on the 37 recommendations from the 5-Year Review.

On October 21, Melissa Woolf gave an educational presentation at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

On October 21, Laura Kelly provided a telemetry demonstration to 120 people at the California Wolf Center as part of Wolf Awareness Week in Julian, California.

On October 27, Shawna Nelson provided a presentation for 14 participants of Wild by Nature, a wildlife watching field trip, and National Park Service personnel in the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico. The following day, she provided a telemetry demonstration and assisted participants in locating and identifying animal tracks.


Nicole Heywood left the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project October 20.

Brynn Nelson, a USFWS volunteer, left the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project October 31.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife 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 conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves. A variety of public interest groups are offering an additional $35,000, for a total reward amount of up to $46,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, AZ, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act, and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

For news on the Mexican wolf

I try to cover the struggling Mexican wolf reintroduction project, but I am very spotty in my knowledge of countryside there. I don’t know the politics or the people, although I have read a lot about Catron County, New Mexico.

Here are two government sites that will help those interested-

“Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News” (from Arizona Game and Fish). These linked here as pdf files.

“Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area (BRWRA). Monthly Project Updates.” This is the site of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Go to the web site and browse down to find the monthly updates.

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Oct. 6. As the post below indicates the Southwest Environmental Center is a non-governmental site that has a lot of Mexican wolf news.