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October 17, 2008

Our Wolf Experts Answer Your Questions: Part III

Many of you were curious about the current climate for wolves in the Southwest. Our Southwest Program Director, Eva Sargent, answers your questions:

Question 6: How are the reintroduced Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico doing? 

Eva_bio "The lobos are in serious trouble. There were only 52 alive in the wild at the last official count, and that’s the only wild population of this rare wolf anywhere in the world! Despite ten years of work, and about 100 captive-born wolves released, there were only three breeding pairs at last count. Mexican wolves are once again teetering on the brink of extinction. Management needs to change – fast"

Question 7: What are the challenges facing Mex. wolf recovery efforts in the Southwest?

Eva_bio"The challenges are social and political – not biological. The released wolves know how to form packs, hunt prey, pair up and raise young. They restore balance to ecosystems in ways scientists are just beginning to understand. Unfortunately, a small number of very vocal and active wolf opponents have managed to slow progress toward wolf recovery. Many Mexican wolves have been illegally killed or poached. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has abdicated its responsibility for recovery – taking the easy fix of removing wolves when they prey on cattle instead of preventing conflicts in the first place. Too many wolves have been killed or removed this way. Keeping a healthy population of wolves in the wild should be the service’s top priority to ensure that Mexican wolf recovery is successful."

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