LAS CRUCES — The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves roaming in the wild got a boost last week with the Mexican government’s release of five lobos in a mountain range in northeast Sonora state a few miles below the Bootheel.
The Oct. 11 release in the San Luis Mountains was announced Tuesday by a Mexican environmental organization, Naturalia. The group called the release, Mexico’s first lobo reintroduction effort, the product of more than 20 years of work by a variety of organizations.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said the release was significant because it not only establishes a second population of the endangered lobos in the wild, but does so in the predator’s “evolutionary home” where the wolves historically preyed on white-tailed deer and javelina.
At the end of 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted 50 wolves in a recovery area spanning national forests in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico. The agency released wolves in southeast Arizona in 1998 in an effort to re-establish the species in its historic range.
Fish and Wildlife traps Mexican gray wolves, designated an experimental, “nonessential” population, that wander outside the recovery area, and those inside the recovery area can be trapped and removed under certain circumstances, such as for repeatedly preying on livestock.
Sherry Barrett, director of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program, said Fish and Wildlife is developing a management plan that will spell out how federal officials can respond to depredating wolves that migrate across the border from Mexico but do not enter the designated recovery area. The management plan is scheduled to be released to the public in February, Barrett said.
The wolves in Mexico are fitted with radio collars supplied by the U.S., so they can be tracked if they cross the border.
Read the full article here.
(If you are not a subscriber, you may click the “Trial Access Pass” link to read without registering.)
We encourage you to leave comments showing your support of wolf reintroduction. You can also send a letter to the editor thanking them for this story.
Tips for your letter:
– Keep it short, no more than two or three paragraphs or less than 300 words
– Start by thanking the paper for their story and tie your letter to the article.
– Write from your own experience, in your own words. Talk about why Mexican wolves are important to you.
Some talking points you could include are:
– Stress that you believe Mexican gray wolves are an important part of the Southwest’s ecosystem.
– Mexico, along with Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas, is part of the Mexican wolf’s historic range.
– With only around 50 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, new releases are critically important to increase the size and genetic health of the wild population.
– True recovery of these highly endangered wolves requires several populations that have connectivity; releases like the recent release in Mexico is a critical step towards making this happen.
– Ask your fellow citizens to speak up in support of Mexican gray wolves.
– Encourage public officials (by name) to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s actions to keep wolves in the wild and to develop a new Recovery Plan based on the best available science.
– Provide your name, address and phone number; your address and phone number will not be published with your letter, but they are usually required for confirmation in order to have your letter published.