Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mexican wolf management to appease livestock producers may run out the clock on recovery

...The wolf being hunted is M1396, named “Guardian” in an annual contest run by Lobos of the Southwest for Albuquerque schoolchildren to name 17 wolf pups born in 2014. “Guardian” was suggested by a sixth grader who wrote that he chose it “because wolves need a guardian to keep them safe and to help their population rise.” He hoped a wolf named Guardian would be “a good luck charm to all the other wolves out in the wild trying to survive” and a guardian of the species so it never goes extinct. He follows his brother, m1384, who the same contest had named “Century.” The pair of sixth graders who suggested the name wrote, “About 100 years ago there was a big abundance of Mexican gray wolves, and now they’re being reintroduced. This wolf species almost went extinct because of settlers that moved into their territory. … When the wolves had less territory to hunt, they would find it easy to hunt the settler’s cattle.” Those same settlers, the students’ essay continues, then felt afraid for themselves and their livestock, and so began killing the wolves, while no one thought about protecting the species. Guardian and Century were both born to the Fox Mountain Pack, one of 19 packs roaming southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. Earlier this year, Guardian was spotted with the Luna Pack female and was soon considered her mate and the new alpha male of that pack. The Fox Mountain Pack has a history of livestock depredations, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the species’ recovery. The agency’s field reports from this spring suggest that behavior moved to the Luna Pack with Guardian, fueling the agency’s decision to trap him to prevent him from teaching those habits to the Luna Pack female. His removal left the female and her unknown number of pups without a partner in raising them; they depend on food the Fish and Wildlife Service now supplies her. Their hope is that she’ll re-match with her former mate, a male still roaming near her den. But it’s a gamble...more

The above is from a four thousand word article by Elizabeth Miller in the Santa Fe Reporter.  The article primarily addresses wolf/livestock conflicts, but doesn't quote one single rancher.  CBD is there, USFWS is there, Ted Turner's guy is there, but no ranchers.

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