Feds doom critical mother wolf.
SILVER CITY, N.M. -- Conservationists condemned the action by government trappers who Wednesday captured and permanently removed a female wolf from Gila National Forest public lands in New Mexico for allegedly preying on a few livestock. The Fox Mountain alpha female, who had evaded trappers for two months, will now be put into captivity for life.
"There is no more powerful symbol of what’s wrong with the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort than this decision to remove a mother wolf with young pups for doing what comes naturally to her—preying on animals," stated Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection at WildEarth Guardians. "We need new leadership, new vision and a new paradigm. This is a crime against nature."
On August 8, 2012, the US Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service issued a kill order for the alpha female (AF1188) for allegedly killing livestock. She has a mate (AF1158) and five pups, including four young of the year and one yearling pup.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people called the Service, the White House, and the New Mexico Congressional delegation protesting the decision. As a result of the public outcry, the Service rescinded the kill order two days later, but then ordered that she be captured live and moved to the Southwest Wolf Conservation Center.
"US Interior and USDA serve the wolf-haters, dooming this critical mother loba and ignoring science and citizens," said Daniel Patterson, Ecologist and Southwest Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). "Many lobos have been eliminated from our public lands, but the feds have refused to release any new Mexican wolves to the wild for nearly four years. Federal mismanagement and political pandering continue to jeopardize wolf recovery in the southwest."
In response, conservationists called upon government officials to leave the mother wolf in the wild with her pups and her mate. Removing her will create trauma for all of the individuals involved. It also eliminated a breeding female from the wild wolf population that struggling to survive.
- AF1188 is only one of six breeding females in a population of less than 60 Mexican wolves. It is essential to preserve breeding females in the wild to support recovery of the species.
- AF1188 has 5 pups that she and her mate are provisioning.
- No wolves should be removed for livestock conflicts. Improved herd management practices can eliminate predation on livestock.
- The Service needs to release more captive Mexican wolves to address inbreeding problems in the wild population.