Wolf known for genetic value found dead in New Mexico

Oct 19, 2022, 9:05 AM | Updated: 5:56 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are pushing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do more to protect Mexican gray wolves after one of the endangered predators was found dead in southwestern New Mexico.

The Western Watersheds Project is among the groups that have been critical of the agency’s management of wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, saying illegal killings continue to hamper the population. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service says there have been fewer wolves found dead this year than in previous years.

The agency also pointed to a revised recovery plan for the wolf that was released in early October. The agency was under a court order to revamp the plan to address the threat of human-caused mortality as one of the ways to increase survivability for wolves in the wild.

Federal officials said they could not provide any details about the circumstances of the latest death since it was an ongoing investigation. It’s rare that such investigations are ever closed.

Environmentalists described the male wolf recently found dead near Winston as one of the most genetically-valuable Mexican wolves in the wild. It had been released in 2018 after being born in captivity and then cross-fostered into a wild wolf den as part of an effort to increase genetic diversity.

The wolf and its mate were captured near Reserve in 2021 and relocated with pups to Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in 2021. That move spurred a legal fight, with ranchers saying they were not notified by the federal government of plans to establish the new pack.

The Ladder Ranch has worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service for years, providing a site for captive wolves and other endangered species projects through the Turner Endangered Species Fund. Across Turner’s vast land holdings, that work has ranged from breeding endangered Bolson tortoises to providing habitat for endangered black-footed ferrets and gray wolves in the northern Rockies.

For more than two decades, the effort to return Mexican gray wolves to the U.S. Southwest has been fraught with conflict as ranchers have complained about having to scare away wolves to keep their cattle from being eaten. Many have said their livelihoods and rural way of life are at stake.

Environmentalists say the reintroduction has stumbled as a result of illegal killings, management decisions and challenges stemming from the region’s year-round cattle calving season.

Greta Anderson, deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project, said she noticed the male wolf was missing when officials released the latest public map.

“The good news is that wolf #1693 was able to successfully father two litters of pups, which is a testament to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s willingness to leave him in the wild in 2021 and 2022,” she said in a statement. “The bad news is that his ability to continue to contribute to the overall diversity of the wild population was tragically cut short.”

North America’s rarest subspecies of gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf was listed as endangered in 1976 after being pushed to the brink of extinction. From the 1960s to the 1980s, seven Mexican wolves — believed to be the last of their kind — were captured and the captive breeding program was started. Wolf releases began in the late ’90s.

The wild population has seen its numbers nearly double over the last five years, with the latest annual census finding nearly 200 Mexican wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. There also are a few dozen in Mexico.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Cong...
Associated Press

Biden makes progress on ‘unity agenda’ outlined in 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top Democratic priorities that were sure to face a battle in the narrowly divided Congress but he also laid out a four-pronged “unity agenda” that would be an easier sell. Biden’s unity goals would be hard […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

New California oil well ban put on hold for voters to decide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s new law banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and other community sites has been put on hold until after voters decide next year whether to throw it out, officials announced Friday. Opponents of Senate Bill 1137 gathered more than 623,000 valid voter signatures to put a referendum […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an ina...
Associated Press

Florida lawmakers to meet next week on Disney, immigration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will meet next week to complete a state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district and debate proposals on immigration and election crimes, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to leverage national political fissures ahead of an expected White House run. Republican leaders of the Legislature, in coordination with […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Thai, 11, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a pediatric vaccine clinic for chil...
Associated Press

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state. Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all […]
23 hours ago
Part of the 988helpline.org website is photographed Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. A cyberattack caused a ne...
Associated Press

Feds say cyberattack caused suicide helpline’s outage

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation’s new 988 mental health helpline late last year, federal officials told The Associated Press Friday. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks. “On December 1, the voice calling functionality of the 988 Lifeline […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Workers at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., walk by a Nissan Altima sedan on May 15, 2012....
Associated Press

US board clears path for mini-union vote at big Nissan plant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Fewer than 100 employees out of the thousands who work at Nissan’s auto assembly plant in Tennessee can hold a vote on whether to form a small union, the federal labor board has decided. The ruling Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board overturns a June 2021 decision by one of […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Wolf known for genetic value found dead in New Mexico