Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good news for Mexican gray wolves!

The regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to leave a wolf pack in the wild in southwestern New Mexico, despite the pack killing three cows this month. Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle ruled Friday in Albuquerque that the Middle Fork Pack is highly valuable genetically to the effort to establish Mexican gray wolves in the wild on the border of Arizona and New Mexico.

To read more from the Silver City Sun-News click more


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's All in a Family

Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate.

Alpha Wolf

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wolf Tag Sales in Idaho are Brisk as U.S. District Judge Sets Hearing for Wolf Hunt Challenge

August 24, 2009 - As of 4:45PM, 4,196 wolf hunting tags were sold in Idaho giving hunters a shot at up to 220 of Idaho's wolves. U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy has granted wolf advocates a hearing on their request for an injunction to stop wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana. Attorneys for Earthjustice, the group representing the 13 groups challenging the hunt and the federal government will get three hours to make their cases in court on Monday August 31st, the day before hunting was scheduled to begin in Idaho.

To read more from the Spokesman-Review click more


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idaho Fish & Game Commissioners Approve Hunt of 220 Wolves

August 17, 2009 - Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission approved the first-ever state regulated hunt of gray wolves in the continental United States. According to a story in the Spokesman-Review by Betsy Z. Russell,Idaho will start selling tags at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 24, “to give hunters from both inside and outside the state a shot at up to 220 of Idaho’s wolves—a quarter of the wolf population.” In response, Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups will most likely file a request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily restore federal protections to the regional wolf population until the court reaches a final decision in the plaintiffs’ pending legal challenge to the delisting.

To read more from the Spokesman-Review click more


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Three Conservation Groups Push for Special Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

Three conservation groups have filed petitions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking that the Mexican gray wolf be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act as a subspecies separate from other gray wolves.

This is an area of great concern for the Wolf Conservation Center as we participate in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan and currently house 22 Mexican Gray Wolves.

To read a press release from The Center for Biological Diversity about the petition, click on "More" below.

To download a copy of the petition as a PDF file, please click here.

Center for Biological Diversity Petitions for Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to formally separate the Mexican gray wolf from other wolf populations in the United States and list it as either an endangered subspecies or a “distinct population segment.”

The Mexican gray wolf is not currently protected as a distinct entity, and thus the Fish and Wildlife Service has never identified coherent goals and strategies to ensure its full recovery and removal from the endangered species list. Lacking these goals, the recovery program has lagged far behind recovery efforts in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes. The current federal “recovery plan” for the Mexican gray wolf was developed 27 years ago as an interim strategy that does not identify the total number of needed wolves, wolf populations, or genetic diversity needed to save the Mexican wolf. The plan has never been updated.

Listing of Mexican wolves as a unique subspecies or distinct population segment will require development of a new recovery plan, including a long-term plan for establishing new populations. Excellent habitat still remains in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, the Grand Canyon ecosystem of Arizona and Utah, and the Sky Islands of northern Mexico and southern Arizona and New Mexico.

“The Mexican gray wolf is distinct from gray wolves in the rest of the United States and deserves strong protections and a focused recovery effort,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center.

Although the Mexican gray wolf was reintroduced into portions of Arizona and New Mexico, populations have failed to grow as expected, and the population has struggled at chronically low numbers. At the end of 2008, there were only two breeding pairs and roughly 50 Mexican wolves in the wild. The population had been projected to reach 18 breeding pairs and 102 wolves by 2006, but because of high mortality related primarily to government recapture and killing, and poaching and vehicular collisions, the populations have not met targets.

“It’s time for the Obama administration to breathe new life into the recovery program for the Mexican gray wolf,” said Greenwald. “Listing the Mexican gray wolf as a distinct entity would require development of a new recovery plan and provide a stronger mandate to protect these distinctive wolves.”

The current recovery plan for the Mexican wolf was finalized in 1982 and is substantially out of date.

“The Mexican gray wolf recovery program has been operating with one arm tied behind its back,” said Greenwald. “It’s time to take the gloves off and get more wolves onto the landscape.”

The petition asks Fish and Wildlife to list the Mexican gray wolf as either a subspecies or distinct population segment, both of which are clearly allowed under the Endangered Species Act. The most recent genetic work on wolves has found that Mexican wolves are highly unique, leading the scientists responsible for the work to conclude that they should be a “high priority for conservation.” The scientists also found that Mexican wolf genes were found in a large area in the Southwest as a result of intergradation with other gray wolves, suggesting that they could be reintroduced in an area much larger than what has typically been considered the historic range of the subspecies.