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Obituary: Mexican Gray Wolf Dad Found Dead in New Mexico

Mexican wolf Alpha Male 1157 of the San Mateo Pack (corrected 11/13/14)

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Followers of Mexican gray wolf reintroduction lost another friend in October.

AM1157 of the San Mateo Pack was found dead in New Mexico after three and a half years as alpha male of the pack. The incident is still under investigation. No cause of death has yet been determined.

Early in his puppyhood this little lobo learned that the life of a wolf is difficult and often marred by tragedy. When he and his two Fox Mountain Pack littermates were only two months old, their mother died of injuries caused by an illegal shooting.

Remote camera photos showed that their father had an injured rear leg. Luckily for the little family, the Mexican wolf field team cached food in order to help their father, AM1038, provide sufficient food for the rapidly growing pups. All three, including little mp1157, survived until the end of the year.


Photo: One of the three little Fox Mountain pups(foreground) and AM1038 (background) in 2008.

When he was nearly three years old, M1157 wandered far to the east of his birthplace. He was soon found with San Mateo AF903, an eight year old, wild born wolf who had lost her second mate to illegal shooting the previous summer. (Her first mate had been shot from a helicopter by a government sharpshooter for killing cattle.)


Photo:
San Mateo AM1157 in the summer of 2011

Apparently the two lobos hit it off immediately.


Photo:
San Mateo AF903 in 2009

The pair produced five pups in 2011, although only two survived until the end of the year.


Photo:
San Mateo pups in 2011

The pair had four living pups at the end of 2012. Sadly, two of those pups were illegally shot to death in 2013.

Although AM1157 and AF903 did not reproduce in 2013, AF903, now at least 11 years old, produced one known pup in 2014!

AM1157 leaves behind his mate, his father, Hawk’s Nest AM1038, single sons M1249 and M1282, and possibly one or more offspring who have not been caught and collared.

AF903, who has lost three mates since 2004, was located on October 30, 2014, with a new companion: Fox Mountain disperser M1345. We hope they stay together!

Written by Jean Ossorio

[This story has been edited to reflect correct information received from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The cause of the death of AM1157 is still under investigation as of November 13th. Media reports dated November 10, 2014, stating that two wolves had died of gunshot wounds were incorrect. The author regrets the error.]

Photos by Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team


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