“Growth Slows for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Population”

“The rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America was listed as endangered in the 1970s and a U.S.-Mexico captive breeding program was started with the seven remaining wolves in existence.” S. Montoya Bryan, ICT April 14, 2022

Researchers fitted this Mexican gray wolf with a radio collar in 2018. They estimate about two dozen Mexican gray wolf packs live in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Miller, Cronkite News)


Excerpt: Susan Montoya Bryan, Indian Country Today, April 14, 2022

“There are now more Mexican gray wolves roaming the southwestern U.S. than at any time since the federal government started to reintroduce the endangered species, wildlife managers said.

The results of the latest annual survey of the wolves show there are at least 196 in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona — the sixth straight year that wolf population has increased.

At least 186 Mexican wolves live in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona, authorities say. The wolves – a rare subspecies of the gray wolf – were all but wiped out by the 1970s. (File photo by Michael Hannan/Cronkite News)

But officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the population’s growth in 2021 was tempered by higher than average pup mortality. Life was made more difficult for the wolves because of a persistent drought that has resulted in low precipitation and scant snowpack, the officials said.

‘We are happy to see the wild population of Mexican wolves continue to grow year after year,’ said Brady McGee, coordinator of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program. ‘The service and our partners remain focused on recovery through improving the genetic health of the wild population and reducing threats, while also working to minimize conflicts with livestock.’

Ranchers continue to have concerns about livestock killed by the wolves, saying efforts to scare the predators away from livestock — by horse riders, nonlethal shots fired from guns and flags put up on fences near cattle — have not been effective enough. Feeding caches for the wolves are also set up by officials to lure wolves away from livestock…’The disappointing lack of significant growth is a sign that this recovery paradigm is not working,’ Chris Smith with the WildEarth Guardians group said in a statement…Federal officials are expected this summer to finalize a new rule that will govern management of Mexican wolves in the U.S.”

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