Mexican Wolf numbers fall

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azbackpackr
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Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 10 2010 5:25 am

The US fish and wildlife service is saying that the number of Mexican wolves in the wild has fallen to 42. Here is some info about it:

http://mexicanwolves.org/
Mexican wolf population dipping

Officials say total from last year was down nearly 20%



The Mexican wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico plunged to its lowest level in seven years in 2009, with eight wolves including four pups found dead last year, officials said Friday.

Last year's total of 42 wolves found in the wild was down nearly 20 percent from 52 wolves in 2008. Since the wolf recovery plan began back in 1998, the U.S. government has spent about $20 million trying to restore wolves in Eastern Arizona and southwest New Mexico, federal records show. Ninety-two total wolves have been released into the wild.

The decline is "tremendously disconcerting and very disturbing," said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regional director for the Southwest.

Officials thought this would be a good year for wolf pups. Also, the service didn't permanently remove any wolves from the wild last year, as it usually does after ranchers complain the wolves are eating cattle, he said.

"I am determined to identify the reasons for this decline and turn the situation around so we can see more Mexican wolves in the wild during 2010," Tuggle said in a news conference by telephone Friday.

Two wolves were confirmed to have been shot to death last year. Tuggle said he is not ruling out the possibility that the other six dead wolves were shot. Those deaths are under law enforcement investigation.

"I don't think we can make any assumptions," Tuggle said. "It has a lot to do with the condition of carcasses. I think the two that we can clearly say were shot were fresh enough" carcasses to make such a determination, he said.

An unusually poor survival rate among wolf pups appeared to play a key role in last year's population decline, officials indicated. Thirty-one pups were born last year in seven wolf packs. Seven survived, the wildlife service said.

Normally, the wild wolf pup mortality rate is about 50 percent, Tuggle said. Only four of the non-surviving pups were found dead, meaning that the rest either "slipped under the census or they are no longer on the landscape," he said, meaning they are dead.

Typically, the service relies on pup survival and reintroductions of wolves who come from breeding facilities to add wolf populations. Since there were no reintroductions last year, "we were relying primarily on pup counts," he said.

Craig Miller, who works with Defenders of Wildlife, a national conservation organization, blamed poaching as the likely culprit.

"Mexican wolves are in big trouble. With numbers so perilously low, every single wolf in the wild counts toward the animal's survival. Turning this dire situation around will require every effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to craft a science-based recovery plan that pays careful attention to genetic issues. The service must also make a renewed commitment to keep wolves on the ground," said Miller, Defenders' Southwest representative.

Tom Buckley, a service spokesman, said he expects the service will prepare a wolf recovery plan but he doesn't know when. Recovery plans are usually required for endangered species such as Mexican wolves but are often delayed due to budget issues and other reasons.

BY THE NUMBERS
Last year's federal wolf census found 27 wolves in Arizona and 15 in New Mexico, compared with 23 in Arizona and 29 in New Mexico in 2008.

This story appeared in the Arizona Daily Star on February 6: http://www.azstarnet.com/news/science/e ... d1620.html
Please submit a letter to the editor! letters@azstarnet.com
URGENT! ACTION NEEDED to save Mexican wolves!

Decline puts wolves on the brink of extinction



The US Fish and Wildlife Service revealed a frightening 20% decline in wild wolf numbers Saturday -only 42 Mexican wolves remain in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico. If this dire situation continues, it will lead to the second extinction of Mexican wolves in the wild.

We must act now to make sure that it doesn’t.

Here is what you can do:

WRITE TO SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR KEN SALAZAR AND U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE DIRECTOR SAM HAMILTON and tell them:

1. A 20 percent decline in this population is unacceptable. We want wolves to survive and thrive in the southwest.

2. The US Fish and Wildlife Service took a step in the right direction in 2009 when they decided to leave wolves charged with livestock depredations in the wild and to reassert agency authority over the Mexican wolf project. The current situation points to a clear and urgent need for additional changes.

3. To immediately and aggressively to recover Mexican wolves from the brink of extinction, the Fish and Wildlife Service must:
* Give Mexican gray wolves greater endangered species protections
* Release more wolves into the wild and bolster the genetic fitness of the population
* Bring the criminals killing our wolves to justice
* Write a new science-based Recovery Plan the outdated 1982 plan is not working.

Addresses for Secretary Salazar and Director Hamilton:
Ken Salazar
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
1849 C. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Email: exsec@ios.doi.gov

Sam Hamilton, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

1849 C. Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Email: sam_hamilton@fws.gov

Please copy your letter to Congress-click here for a list of AZ and NM members of Congress

WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Talking points, a sample letter to the editor, and contact information for editors of southwest papers are below. Additional letter writing tips and contact information for editors can also be found on our website at: http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php? ... to-editors.

In writing your letter, please emphasize why Mexican wolves and their recovery are so important to you and to our wild places.

Your letter should open by referencing the article, i.e. “I’m writing in response to the 2/5 article in the [name of paper],” and then go straight to your message.

BELOW ARE SIMPLE TALKING POINTS TO EMPHASIZE:

There are only 42 Mexican Gray Wolves left in the wild in the United States, putting them on the brink of a second extinction.

This decline is not through any fault of the wolves, who have done everything needed to survive in the wild; they have formed packs, had pups, and successfully hunted native prey. The decline is human-caused and must be human-remedied.

The Fish and Wildlife Service must:
* Give Mexican gray wolves greater endangered species protections
* Release more wolves into the wild and bolster the genetic fitness of the population
* Bring the criminals killing our wolves to justice
* Write a new science-based Recovery Plan because the outdated 1982 plan is not working.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is operating under a flawed 28-year old recovery plan that does not include recovery criteria, does not incorporate modern science, and has done little to protect the Mexican Wolf. This long-term mismanagement threatens the very existence of the species.

It’s time for a new, modern Recovery Plan that will bring Mexican Wolves back from the brink of extinction and restore a healthy wild wolf population.


HERE ARE SOME GENERAL SUPPORTIVE TALKING POINTS THAT CAN ALSO BE INCLUDED:

* Wolves are beautiful animals that belong in Nature.
* Wolves are a benefit to the West.
* Wildlife biologists believe that once they are fully restored, Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of southwest ecosystems – just as the return of gray wolves has resulted in numerous positive changes in Yellowstone National Park.
* Wolves have done what’s needed to survive in the wild: they have formed packs, had pups and successfully hunted native prey.
* The overwhelming majority of southwest residents support the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf.

SAMPLE LETTER (This is intended to give an example only-please write your own letter in your own words)

Dear Editor,

I’m responding to the article about Mexican gray wolves published on February 6, 2010. As the article states, latest population count has found there are only 42 of these wolves in the wild, making it the most endangered mammal in North America. This isn’t surprising when you consider the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is relying on a recovery plan developed 28 years ago that lacks modern science and simple recovery criteria.

Wolves have done what’s needed to survive in the wild. They’ve formed packs, had pups and successfully hunted native prey. But they need our help to get more than a toehold in the wilds of the Southwest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can help them by developing a modern recovery plan that uses the best available science and prioritizes wolf recovery.

While the recovery plan is being developed, the Service must immediately begin supplementing the wild population with new releases. Bolstering the genetic fitness of the wild wolves is a critical concern.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Jeffshadows » Feb 10 2010 8:27 am

I heard that Mexico is planning on reintroducing a few near the border around Douglas...
AD-AVGVSTA-PER-ANGVSTA

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stacelms
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by stacelms » Feb 10 2010 9:32 am

If Mexico is getting involved everything will be GREAT! Wait, maybe not.
"not all those that wander are lost" - J.R.R. Tolkien

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Ckzona
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Ckzona » Feb 10 2010 2:37 pm

I am not entirely surprised of all these deaths. I want the wolves to thrive so much but god there are too many people out there who frown on the idea of wolves here. The land in the whites is perfect and the border with New Mexico but there are a lot of of people who come to the White Mountains and would love to kill a wolf. Also the amount of ranchers here who make up reasons to shoot wolves.

About introducing wolves to different areas I have heard tons of rumors. I have heard about the pinaleno's, chiricahuas, and the border near Mexico

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Pathfinder Aaron
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Pathfinder Aaron » Feb 27 2010 8:30 pm

This is just sad. As much as I would fear encountering wolves out in the wilderness, I want animals like this to be in relative high numbers out in the wild. I think it's sad that wildlife isn't encountered more often. People feel the need to go out of their way to kill everything that poses a threat to them instead of keeping adequate distance. I stumbled across some rancher page the other day and was upset by the posts I was seeing. One I remember was "if it's not part of the food chain, and it isn't a dog, it should be killed." The mentality of these people makes me furious. I wish these wolves the best of luck.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 28 2010 3:48 am

In defense of ranchers: Unlike most of you, I actually KNOW a lot of ranchers. Most of them are not going to shoot any wolves, both because they tend to be law-abiding and also because they fear going to prison. They may not like the wolves, they may disagree very vocally with the reintroduction project, but they will call the USFWS officer to report a wolf near their cattle before they will shoot one. Most of the wolves that have died did not die from being shot.

I have very mixed feelings about the use of public land for a business such as cattle raising. But just because I don't like cattle on public lands does not mean that ranchers are all bad people who break the law. It would only take one or two people who are determined to kill wolves to find some and kill them. Wolves are not that hard to find, especially for people living south and east of Alpine, and around Reserve NM. Even just one determined person could probably sneak around and kill several of them without being found out. I kind of hope it is one person and that they find him and send him off to prison for a lot of years.

Over the past 12 years or so there have been more than 20 wolves shot and not many arrests. One arrest that happened some years ago was a local kid from our high school. His dad isn't a rancher.

An article I just read from the Arizona Republic said that the people who counted the wolves said they may have missed some in their count, but that nevertheless the numbers are down. 8 wolves are known dead from last year, two of the 8 were shot.
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PaleoRob
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 06 2010 2:56 pm

Has anyone else actually seen Mexican Wolves out in the wild?
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Jim_H
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Jim_H » Aug 06 2010 5:41 pm

I was a little disappointed that I didn't see any evidence of them in the Gila. I heard some kind of canine howls, but they could have been coyote for all I knew. Actually, I hardly saw any wildlife in the Gila, so going to Yellowstone should be like going to a petting zoo, relatively speaking.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 06 2010 6:02 pm

I have seen them, but not lately.
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kevinweitzel75
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Aug 08 2010 4:25 pm

I have heard of them in the Haunted Canyon area, but have never seen one. Would be nice to see a couple sometime.
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I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 08 2010 5:46 pm

I saw two running west of Alpine, and heard a couple howling on the slopes of Escudilla. Awesome stuff.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 08 2010 7:59 pm

kevinweitzel75 wrote:I have heard of them in the Haunted Canyon area, but have never seen one. Would be nice to see a couple sometime.
I sure have never heard of them that far west. Rumors abound, and people have been known to let their pet wolves loose, also. I suppose it is theoretically possible for them to have ranged from the San Carlos Reservation as far west as that, though. I know that the people managing them would make every effort to capture them if they got that far out of bounds, though.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by rattlesnakewillie » Aug 08 2010 11:25 pm

@PageRob
Two years ago A friend and I watch one near Gentry Canyon for over 30 minutes digging for ground moles. The wind was right and as the wolf faced away we moved in a little. Got some good pictures and then he got wind of us and headed off into the woods.

Near the point where Woods Canyon creek meets Willow Creek I watch a pack of ~4-5 running. Just a glimpse and no pictures.

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rattlesnakewillie
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by rattlesnakewillie » Aug 09 2010 12:25 am

With all the rain up here the Varmint or varmit population will sky rocket. Predators will follow with population growth.
This happened many years ago with the Mountain Lion population and will also help the Wolf population.

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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Aug 09 2010 10:41 pm

azbackpackr wrote:I sure have never heard of them that far west. Rumors abound, and people have been known to let their pet wolves loose, also. I suppose it is theoretically possible for them to have ranged from the San Carlos Reservation as far west as that, though. I know that the people managing them would make every effort to capture them if they got that far out of bounds, though.
I kind of figured that that was highly unlikely. I have never seen a wolf in AZ. Saw two up in Idaho, but never here. My "source" is the type of guy to make up that kind of stuff. Everything he says, I take with a grain of salt. I would love to see some here.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
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airic
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by airic » Aug 10 2010 9:07 am

I saw a single wolf, rather closely and without a camera, back in 06 on this trail: http://www.hikearizona.com/x.php?I=4&UI ... =8944&ZTN=

It was great to say the least. Heard them a few times.

Predator numbers overall seem to be up across the country, the wolf numbers will turn around eventually I think.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 10 2010 9:11 pm

Ok, let's be clear before we go any further with this. If any of you are claiming to be seeing wolves outside of the wolf recovery area (either in the White Mtns of AZ, and Gila Wilderness of New Mexico) I am not going to believe you. Or, I am going to think you may have seen one of those pet wolves that has been let go. Or you saw a big coyote.

There are only about 23 Mexican wolves left in the recovery area, and 3 have been found shot recently. Another one on the Apache reservation is missing. The Fish and Wildlife Service makes every effort to keep track of the few that are left from the release program, which cost millions of dollars. Millions of dollars, and only 23 remaining. If you go on the AZ Game and Fish dept website you can find out more about the program.

These Mexican wolves are the only wolves in Arizona, other than released pets. If anyone thinks otherwise, I probably am not going to agree.
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joebartels
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by joebartels » Aug 10 2010 9:15 pm

At a mere 1 million that's over $43,000 per wolf for tracking. In the plural it's just more ridiculous. I don't care how dire the situation, that money is not being spent proper.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 10 2010 10:28 pm

joe bartels wrote:At a mere 1 million that's over $43,000 per wolf for tracking. In the plural it's just more ridiculous. I don't care how dire the situation, that money is not being spent proper.
Those radio collars will eat up half of that number right there, easily. Salary for the biologist (figure my meager P-Fund salary of $18,500), gas for trucks (which was the biggest part of our budget, collectively) works out to about $4,000/truck/year. Figure one truck per biologist, and one biologist per wolf, radio collar and receiver, that is over $40,000/year per wolf easily. If you've got to replace tires/parts on the trucks, if the wolves have GPS collars, your cost per wolf goes up. And that is just tracking, nothing about the overhead - electricity at the field station, administrative costs, legal costs, payment to ranchers who can prove their cow was killed by a wolf, etc. I'm surprised that number isn't higher. When there were more wolves, obviously the cost per wolf was lower.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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joebartels
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by joebartels » Aug 10 2010 11:02 pm

Yeah I'm a hundred percent sure I'm not in favor of twenty thousand dollar tracking collars. Sounds too much like the ol' $5,000 toilet seat covers. Not to mention too many angles beyond. Wonder if it's even US taxes funding the project, hopefully not interest drowning borrow on top of all said. Where's the white flag smiley :sweat:

Yet it's a far cry from the trail maintenance figures I posted about a month ago. No one was even fazed about that either. It won't change, it's obvious the majority accept it.
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