Federal wildlife officials killed a female wolf Wednesday night after she repeatedly returned to a ranch across the border from Arizona in Catron County, N.M.
Members of the Interagency Field Team had tried to dart the wolf, tranquilize her and move her to another area, said Tom Buckley, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman. But those efforts failed.
“Concerns for public safety became an issue after she continued to be present on ranch property so the Service gave the order to proceed with lethal removal,” Buckley said in a press release.
The killing is just the latest blow to the 13-year-old program to re-introduce Mexican gray wolves in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Last year, a fish and wildlife service report said the project was “at risk of failure.” The report said shooting had been the top cause of death in the wolf population. At that point, 31 wolves had been shot to death.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity attributed the wolf’s death to the failure of officials to increase the wolf population in the reintroduction area. He said the same wolf mated with a dog from elsewhere earlier this year, and gave birth to five hybrid pups, four of which were captured and killed by federal officials.
In the statement, Robinson said: “This very sad episode is a result of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to release enough wolves into the wild to allow this single female to find a mate of her own kind.”
On Dec. 2, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted to oppose any new Mexican gray wolf releases until the service completes certain planning measures.
PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR TODAY, thanking the paper for this article and promoting more releases of Mexican wolves into the wild. Similar articles ran in several newspapers.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Start by thanking paper for their coverage of this important issue-this makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.
- Stress that only about 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild, making them the most endangered mammal in North America.
- Encourage the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to use all the means available to them to expedite releases of captive wolves into the wild.
- Convey how important new releases of wolves into the wild are to increase the population’s numbers and genetic health-new releases are essential to pull the wild population away from the brink of extinction.
- Explain that there are wolves in captivity ready to be released and wolves in the wild that do not have mates; these wolves can’t wait two or more years for the new Recovery Plan to be completed.
- 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.
- Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.
- Provide your name, address and phone number; your full address and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.
Letters can be submitted to these papers that published similar articles (click on the paper’s title to see the article as they published it):
Las Cruces Sun-News Submit letters here (300-word limit).
LA Times Submit letters here.
Sierra Vista Herald Submit letters here.
East Valley Tribune Submit letters here (250-word limit).
Thank you for all you do to support Mexican gray wolves and their recovery in the wild!
Photo: Mexican gray wolf courtesy of the Phoenix Zoological Society