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New In the Press: Gray wolf shot in AZ;

officials probe use of radio tracking

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Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star

Another endangered Mexican gray wolf was found shot to death this week in Arizona - and one of the possibilities authorities are looking into is that ranchers or others may have used radios to track and target radio-collared wolves.

Environmentalists are pushing the feds - "as a precaution" - to take back the radios loaned to ranchers and others in Arizona and New Mexico that allow the wolves to be tracked.

Ranching groups deny the "ridiculous" suggestion that any ranchers would use the radios to target wolves for shootings. They say they only monitor the wolves to try to keep them from attacking their cattle or getting too close to homes.

Agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have drawn no conclusions as to whether the receivers are being used to target wolves, said Nicholas Chavez, the service's Southwest law enforcement chief.

"We put everything into the realm of possibility. We always look into that but we have not confirmed that at all," said Chavez, whose agents have investigated more than 30 Mexican wolf shootings.

The radios are loaned to two groups of people: those wishing to protect livestock against wolf attacks and those wishing to protect their property against nuisance wolves, says a document written by officials with the federal wolf reintroduction project.

The latest dead male wolf, a yearling, was found Thursday near Big Lake, in Eastern Arizona, about two miles from where an adult alpha male from the same pack - the Hawks Nest Pack - was found shot to death June 18.

On June 24, another adult alpha male - the leader of its pack - was found dead in southern New Mexico under "suspicious circumstances." Authorities won't know if that one was shot to death until a necropsy is done.

The latest wolf to be found dead had a bullet wound, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman, Tom Buckley, said Friday.

"It's a tremendous hit" to the recovery program, he said. Thirty-three wolves have been shot to death since wolves were first reintroduced into Arizona and New Mexico in 1998.

At about the same time this wolf was found, authorities found a cow shot to death in an area close by. The cow also died of a gunshot wound, sometime during the preceding 24 hours, and was not fed upon by wolves, the wildlife service investigation indicates. ...

To read the full story, published in the Arizona Daily Star on June 17, 2010, and post a comment, Click Here.

Please submit a letter to the editor of the AZ Daily Star urging immediate action to stop the killings and to release the Engineer Springs family of captive wolves into the wild: letters@azstarnet.com.

For more actions you can take to help pull Mexican wolves back from the brink of extinction, Click Here

Reward offered:
Together, federal and state agencies, private donors, the Phoenix Zoo, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sky Island Alliance, Animal Protection of New Mexico, Wild Earth Guardians, and the Animal Defense League of Arizona have offered a total of $52,000 for information leading to the apprehension of someone responsible for shooting a Mexican gray wolf.

In the past week, WildEarth Guardians , the White Mountain Conservation League, the Southwest Environmental Center, the Humane Society of the U.S., the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, the Wildlands Network, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council have pledged an additional  $6,800 for the reward.  Added to the existing reward, the total amount offered is now up to $58,800.

Click Here to print reward posters for distribution. These look great and really grab people’s attention when printed on bright “day-glo” colored paper.