The wild population of Mexican gray wolves, excluding this year’s pups, stands at fewer than 42 animals. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prohibited from releasing Mexican gray wolves directly from captivity into New Mexico, according to the Final Rule governing the reintroduction, but wolves in captivity that were once in the wild can be re-released into New Mexico. Roughly two-thirds of the available habitat for the lobos lies east of the Arizona state line in the Gila National Forest, but only about half of the wolves in the wild are currently in New Mexico.
The seven Saddle pack puppies shortly after they were captured in 2007. The disturbance associated with the capture of their parents for killing livestock caused their mother to move them to a new den, making it difficult for project personnel to find them. (Photo courtesy of USFWS.)
The Fish and Wildlife Service did re-release one wild-born wolf into New Mexico this year, but unfortunately, she was found dead a few months after her release. There are at least nine more wild-born wolves that are eligible for New Mexico releases. All nine have been waiting patiently in captive breeding facilities for their chance to be wild wolves again, some for as long as three to five years! Not every one of these wolves may be physically, genetically, or temperamentally suitable for re-release, but those that are suitable should get their chance at freedom, while contributing to the growth of the wild population.
We will feature the stories of these nine lobos each week for the next several weeks. You can help encourage the Fish and Wildlife Service to release each of these wolves that is suitable for release by sending a very brief e-mail to FWS Region 2 Director Benjamin Tuggle, asking him to free the re-release candidate of the week. Simply copy and paste the message below into an email, and add a simple sentence or two of your own. Please add your name and address at the end, because anonymous letters get little attention. Remember, too, that polite requests are more effective.
Dear Dr. Tuggle,
I am alarmed at how few Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild and I know that there are wild-born wolves in captivity that are eligible for New Mexico releases. Please re-release former Saddle pup M1049 in New Mexico. He has been in captivity long enough; it’s time for him to be a free, wild wolf again.
Here’s our first Mexican gray wolf re-release candidate of the week:
The Mexican gray wolf re-release candidate of the week is former Saddle pup M1049, born in the wild on May 7, 2007. He was captured with his mother and six littermates on May 31, 2007, when his parents were removed from the wild for killing cattle. The Mexican wolf field team captured alpha female AF797 first. Searchers had a hard time locating the tiny puppies, because their mother, disturbed by attempts to shoot or trap members of the pack, had moved them to a new den.
M1049 was taken to the Sevilleta pre-release facility on June 6, 2007. On May 20, 2009, he was transferred to Wild Canid Center in Missouri. Because he was just a small pup when he was captured and had no part in killing livestock, he is eligible for release in New Mexico. FREE M1049!
Send your e-mail to Director Benjamin Tuggle at RDTuggle@fws.gov.
Let him know you want M1049 to be a free, wild wolf again.
Check back next week for our next re-release candidate of the week. Thanks for your help!