Never doubt that your actions can make a difference! On Thursday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a decision to shoot the alpha female of the Fox Mountain Mexican wolf pack for depredating on livestock. The past few days, wolf supporters bombarded the USFWS, the White House, and NM Senators with phone calls and emails, and today the agency issued a revised decision changing the kill order to permanent removal.
Thanks to all who spoke out on her behalf, and to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, who offered to take her, the Fox Mountain matriarch’s life will be spared.
We appreciate the USFWS’s decision not to kill this wolf. However, this doesn’t change the serious situation for the wild population, or the challenges they face. It is imperative that the USFWS release many more wolves as soon as possible to bolster the population.
The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, one of the facilities involved in the captive breeding program, wants to treat the Fox Mountain female wolf in a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) research program. CTA involves feeding the wolf beef laced with a substance that makes them feel queasy so that they learn to avoid livestock. This treatment is promising and could enable the Fox Mountain wolf to be returned to her pack. The USFWS should use this option, rather than keeping her in captivity for the rest of her life.
The wild population of only around 58 wolves is already dangerously small, and the USFWS has not released any new wolves into the wild in almost four years.
Meanwhile, an entire family of Mexican gray wolves that have already been treated with CTA has been sitting in the pre-release facility at Sevilleta for two years now, ready for release into the wild. The USFWS needs to release this family and many more wolves to address the serious concerns their representatives have recently expressed about the wild population’s size and genetic health.
Please email the USFWS. Thank them for sparing the Fox Mountain alpha female’s life, tell them it is imperative to get more Mexican wolves into the wild, and urge them to use the CTA option so that this wolf can return to her pack.
Please send your emails to:
USFWS Acting Southwest Regional Director Joy Nicholopoulos Joy_Nicholopoulos@fws.gov
Click here to read the revised order issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service today.
Many, many thanks for all you do for the wolves!
Photograph courtesy of Sophie Kastner