Thursday, April 4, 2013
Death of Critically Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Under Investigation
One might imagine that an agency called "Wildlife Services" would take on a supportive role in safeguarding wildlife. Think again. Often dubbed "the Killing Agency," this branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has had hackles raised among members of wildlife conservation communities for years and now a Wildlife Services employee under investigation for the death of a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf, or lobo.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Federal officials have confirmed that a Wildlife Services employee is the subject of an investigation into the killing of an endangered Mexican gray wolf in January in the southwest corner of New Mexico. Details surrounding the lobo's death have been limited. Although spokespeople for the federal agency say that the case is under investigation, their comments do suggest that the killing was a case of mistaken identity.
This news comes just days after #LoboWeek, a week long movement honoring the 15th anniversary of the lobo's return to the wild, and almost a year after The Sacramento Bee revealed some staggering facts about this agency to the general public. According to WildEarth Guardians, the agency "spent nearly $1 billion to kill nearly 23 million animals using aerial guns, poisons, traps, snares, and hounds, purportedly to protect agriculture and other private interests as part of a grossly ineffective and wasteful program." WildEarth Guardians also charges that the agency's wildlife extermination programs are illegal and in 2012 filed suit to put an end to them. In response to this latest controversy surrounding Wildlife Services Michael Robinson, wolf advocate at Center for Biological Diversity, stated "The killing of any Mexican wolf is a tragedy, but this incident is magnified by the fact it appears there was an intentional effort to withhold information from the public... (this) should further raise alarm bells about the need for reform of the wildlife-killing agency.”
With just 75 known lobos on the wild landscape of the southwest, news of this death is heartbreaking and a setback on the recovery of his rare species.
Read more from Center for Biological Diversity here.