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In the News: Wolf’s Death Investigated

Fire Threatens Two Other Packs - Albuquerque Journal, Rene Romo, June 6, 2012

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LAS CRUCES – The death of a female member of the Dark Canyon wolf pack is under investigation by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement, officials said Tuesday.

The body of the wolf, which was found last month, has been sent to a forensic lab in Ashland, Ore., for a necropsy to determine the cause of death, said Tom Buckley, a Service spokesman in Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, Fish and Wildlife continues to monitor the Whitewater-Baldy Fire, which has burned more than 259,000 acres mainly in the Gila Wilderness, for potential threats to two packs of endangered Mexican gray wolves, including the Dark Canyon pack. The other pack in the path of the sprawling wildfire sparked by lightning on May 16 was identified as the Middle Fork pack.

Sherry Barrett, the Mexican wolf recovery coordinator, said that the containment lines firefighters dug out on the northern and eastern edges of the fire “are holding” and the blaze has not yet reached the two packs.

Both the Middle Fork and Dark Canyon packs are denning, Barrett said, “but we don’t know if they have pups.”

If the two packs are denning pups, every day the fire is kept away improves the chances the pups grow mobile enough to move to safety, Barrett said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service counted 58 wolves in the forests of southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico at the end of last year, an increase from 2010 but still below the 100 wolves federal officials projected would be roaming wild by the end of 2006.


State, federal and nongovernment organizations have offered a total of $57,000, depending on the information provided, for information leading to the conviction of an individual responsible for the illegal killing of a Mexican gray wolf.

The Dark Canyon pack, which now consists of two alpha wolves and a younger female wolf, generally roams the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest. The Middle Fork pack, consisting of two alpha wolves, is located in the central portion of the Gila National Forest.


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This article appeared on page C2 of the print version of the Albuquerque Journal

Read the full article here.

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Please write a letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal today to keep the pressure on decision-makers to get new Mexican wolves released into the wild. A population of 58 wolves is extremely small and at risk from threats such as disease, inbreeding, illegal killings, or events like the Whitewater-Baldy Fire.

The letters to the editor page is one of the most widely read, influential parts of the newspaper. One letter from you can reach thousands of people and will also likely be read by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Tips for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points

Below are a few suggestions for ensuring your message gets through clearly-your letter will be most effective if you focus on a few key points, so don’t try to use all of these. If you need additional help or want someone to review your letter before you send it, email it to info@mexicanwolves.org.

Start by thanking paper for publishing this article. This makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.

Convey how important new releases of wolves into the wild are to increase the population’s numbers and genetic health.  A population of 58 wolves is still extremely small and and vulnerable to threats such as disease, inbreeding, or events like the Whitewater-Baldy Fire the article talked about.

Tell readers why you support wolves and stress that the majority of New Mexico and Arizona voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction.  Polling showed 69% support in New Mexico and 77% support in Arizona.

Urge the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to end the freeze on more releases of captive wolves into the wild.  Releases of captive wolves must happen now to prevent another extinction in the wild; the number of wild wolves must increase to reduce their vulnerability to inbreeding, natural catastrophes, disease, and other threats.

Remind people that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s own 2010 annual progress report, acknowledged that too few releases contribute to the wolves’ difficulties in finding mates.  This acknowledgment was accompanied by a pledge to "replac[e] the individual animals lost through initial releases and translocations" (p. 29).Director Tuggle must keep his promise to release more wolves into the wild.

Encourage the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to use all the means available to them to expedite more releases of captive wolves into the wild.  The agency has been sitting on an Environmental Assessment that can end the ridiculous rule prohibiting new releases into New Mexico and letting wolves eligible for release into both Arizona and New Mexico sit in captivity. The stalling has to stop.

Explain that there are wolves in captivity ready to be released and wolves in the wild that do not have mates.  These wolves need more releases to form new breeding pairs and families.

Talk about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you.  If you’re a grandmother wanting your grandchildren to have the opportunity to hear wolves in the wild, or a hunter who recognizes that wolves make game herds healthier, or a businessperson who knows that wolves have brought millions in ecotourism dollars to Yellowstone, say so.

Reiterate the ecological benefits of wolves to entire ecosystems and all wildlife.  Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.

Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.

Provide your name, address, occupation, and phone number, your full address, occupation, and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.

For more information, contact us at info@mexicanwolves.org


Please send us a copy of your letter as well, so that we can track the actions taken to save these wonderful animals. info@mexicanwolves.org

Thank you for taking the time to submit a letter. The many letters to the editor expressing support for Mexican gray wolves published in the last year have made a real difference!

Photo courtesy USFS Gila National Forest.