NEW MEXICO — According to monthly report from the Arizona Game and Fish Department issued this week, two male Mexican gray wolves belonging to the Bear Wallow and Saffel packs were found dead in Arizona in September.
A third Mexican gray wolf, found dead in southwestern Mexico, was identified by wildlife officials as a member of the SBP pack. The Bear Wallow, Saffel and SBP packs are known to roam parts of Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Authorities have not released any details about the circumstances under which the wolves died, or where exactly the wolves were found. The deaths are under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Once a deceased wolf is discovered, we contact our law enforcement division,” says John Bradley, External Affairs Officer for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Southwest Region. “An initial investigation is conducted by law enforcement and then the animal(s) are sent to our lab in Ashland, Oregon, where a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.”
“The lab results will be sent back to our law enforcement division so that they can make a determination about what happened to the animal, says Bradley.
Bradley also explained that there are a number of ways in which the USFWS is notified of a wolf death. “For example, if it’s a collared wolf, the assigned biologist may get a radio signal indicating that the animal has not moved in two to four hours. At that point, the biologist may go to the signal area and report back to the appropriate division within USFWS.”
Efforts to reintroduce the wolves in Arizona and New Mexico have been ongoing for two decades.
Wildlife managers says 11 wolf deaths have been documented so far this year, including the three most recent deaths.
Anyone with information about the recent deaths is asked to call the Arizona Game & Fish Department, Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700.
This article was published in the White Mountain Independent
Show your support for Mexican wolves with a Letter to the Editor today!
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 decision-makers. Tips for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. Don’t try to include all the talking points in your letter.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must get serious about curbing illegal killings of endangered Mexican gray wolves by increasing public acceptance of wolves, increasing penalties to dissuade wolf killers, and by accepting contemporary research on negative impacts of removing wolves who depredate.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not see the 10% annual population growth of Mexican gray wolves they claim they want to achieve with the methods they are employing. Their plan to recover the species without ever releasing an adult wolf to the wild again is preposterous and in bad faith.
- Cross-fostering wolves is only one tool in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s toolbox and cannot be relied upon solely to save the Mexican gray wolf from extinction. Releases of captive adult wolves are desperately needed this year to save the species.
- The genetic crisis Mexican gray wolves are in is expected to result in lower pup survival rates, which we are now seeing. The only way to prevent the species from going extinct is to rapidly improve the genetics of the wild population by releasing adult wolves from captivity. Without releasing adults, the wild population could crash very quickly due to its small size and inbreeding.
- It has now been 40 years since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first listed the Mexican gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act, yet the species is still struggling to remain viable.
- We have a moral, economic and scientific responsibility to restore endangered species like the Mexican gray wolf.
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