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
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azbackpackr
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 21 2010 4:26 pm

Hey, that is great you got a response and some interest from those folks! Who knows, maybe one will turn out to be a wolf!
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chumley
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by chumley » Oct 08 2010 2:05 pm

October 8, 2010.
Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying the release of Mexican gray wolves in the Apache National Forest of Arizona until sometime next year.

The federal agency and the Arizona Game and Fish Department had expected to release eight wolves in the next few weeks under a program that began reintroducing wolves into the wild along the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1998.

Fish and Wildlife says it decided to step back and assess concerns raised about the program.

The endangered species coordinator for Arizona Game and Fish, Terry Johnson, says there's a need to get more wolves in the wild, but it has to be done in a way to ensure their best chance of success.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 08 2010 3:01 pm

Yeah, seeing as someone keeps shooting them. Better hold off until we have that idiot on ice.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 10 2010 8:27 pm

News from AZ G&F Dept. They are going to release a male wolf into the wild to replace one of the ones lost:
http://azgfd.net/artman/publish/NewsMed ... zona.shtml
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Moovyoaz » Dec 11 2010 12:49 am

Not that I support idiots who would try to derail the recovery program by shooting wolf pups, but for what it's worth, there IS an interesting opposite point of view to consider.

The 'Arizona Sportsman's Action Network' and other groups claim wolf re-introduction has devastated other wildlife populations (elk and deer) in the United States, like around Yellowstone. They are currently lobbying congress as follows ( http://tinyurl.com/33zt2kw ):

"12/11/10 McCain signs onto Wolf Delisting Bill - More Calls to DC Needed
Please thank Senator McCain for signing on as a co-sponsor of S 3919, Senator Hatch's Wolf Delisting Bill. If passed, the bill will remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list and states will be allowed to manage the wolf going forward. It is important that we show our appreciation when a Senator responds to our requests and Senator McCain has done just that.

PLEASE KEEP THE TELEPHONES RINGING IN DC. REPORTS INDICATE THAT WHILE CALLS ARE BEING MADE, WE STILL NEED MORE.

Hopefully most of you know by now that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted last Saturday to support S 3919 at the recommendation of Terry Johnson, the person who has given several years of his career and is responsible for the wolf recovery program in Arizona.

The Obama Administration now has a commitment for its own amendment to get attached to the Omnibus Spending Bill in the Senate. This amendment is bad. It increases the wolf recovery numbers in the Rockies (original number was 100 in each state of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho - they now are saying 500-700 minimum number in Idaho), gives the Interior Department complete authority over wolves with no state participation or input and contains provisions for re-listing if certain conditions are not met."

Seems everybody has an agenda now days, but it is good to hear and validate both sides of an issue, and make up your own mind. Then shoot the other side! :gun:
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 11 2010 6:19 am

In the White Mountains, the locals hate the elk because they tend to congregate in ranchers' fields, yards, and break down fences, and get into the haybarns in winter. They congregate in numbers of 500 to 1000, very commonly. Although a few locals make money off hunters by being guides/outfitters, most people just plain do not like the elk. It is an introduced species, and has gotten out of hand. There are few deer in the White Mountains now, due to the elk. Ask any older local about the deer. 40 or 50 years ago, it was uncommon to see elk, but common to see deer.

In talking to wolf biologists, and the original program director for the Wolf Recovery Project, while on a backpacking trip along Black River last summer, I learned that the only predator that will prevent elk from congregating in large herds, that will keep them dispersed so they do not decimate one area, is the wolf. The other major predators, which are mountain lions, human hunters and coyotes do not disburse elk. Elk need to be disbursed or they become worse than sheep or cattle, since they will not move from an area in winter until it has been grazed down to bare dirt, the bark chewed off trees, bushes killed, etc.

In the White Mountains we not only have the problem of elk congregating in winter, we also have just plain TOO MANY elk. AZGFD has held depredation hunts in winter time quite often, especially near the towns where the elk cause so much damage. The number of cow tags needs to be increased. People will hunt cow elk in order to fill up their freezers.

Oddly, locals do not like the wolf. They are worried about their cattle, which is a legitimate concern, since wolves will kill cattle. However, I doubt any of them know of the symbiotic relationship between the elk and the wolf. The forest needs the wolf, to keep the habitat safe from the elk! Hunters can help, but the wolf is the best predator for the elk. The wolf will also keep the elk scattered, so there will be enough graze for the cattle.

As for the hunters, most of them do not live in the area. They bring dollars to the White Mountains, but they do not live there, or understand the problems caused by TOO MANY ELK!
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 11 2010 9:27 am

I saw that AZGF voted to support delisting. I think that is an interesting move, though not entirely sure it is the right direction...
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Moovyoaz » Dec 11 2010 10:01 am

PageRob wrote:I saw that AZGF voted to support delisting. I think that is an interesting move, though not entirely sure it is the right direction...
I agree.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Jim_H » Dec 11 2010 10:30 am

How are the tribes out there with the wolves? Between the two Apache reservations you would think there would be a fair amount of semi-private land where the wolves would be relatively safe from poachers. I know it isn't all higher elevation land, but there has to be some area for them.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by airic » Dec 11 2010 7:22 pm

I haven't seen the actual bill, but the link above only says gray wolf and does not list species name. Very possible the bill does not include the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), only the gray wolf. I haven't heard any talk on the street of the Mexi being delisted.

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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 11 2010 8:07 pm

Jim_H wrote:How are the tribes out there with the wolves? Between the two Apache reservations you would think there would be a fair amount of semi-private land where the wolves would be relatively safe from poachers. I know it isn't all higher elevation land, but there has to be some area for them.
I honestly don't know the answer. They run a lot of cattle, the Apaches do. So, as with any group of people, I suspect there are differing views.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 12 2010 11:50 am

One of the Apache reservations doesn't want wolves at all - they have to be removed from their land if they stray over the line.
The delisting bill would delist all subspecies of Gray Wolf.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by Jim_H » Dec 12 2010 12:42 pm

Thats a strange thing, with the Apache. My guess is that the species might be de-listed and then eventually go extinct. Even though the SW USA has a much lower population than the rest of the US, or Europe, we've pretty much used all the resources that exist and made it over in that image. It just doesn't look like it since we have so much arid waste land. Oh well, there is still the Gila and Blue Range to hike through, but even there it isn't really wilderness. Just last June the Gila NF put out a lightning caused fire in ponderosa pine. How is that wild? How does that minimize man's impact ? It doesn't. Still, it's better than the joke wildernesses that are a slap in the face of anyone with a brain that works at 10% capacity. You know, the Kachina Peaks and Kendrick Mountain Wilderness.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by red_dog » Feb 03 2011 6:36 am

Well, it looks like the official count for 2010 is showing an increase for the first time since 2006.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/ ... exico.html

And the recent release of two wolves was news to me as well…hadn’t heard about that previously

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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 03 2011 9:45 am

Very good, very good. Now if John Q. Redneck would just quit shooting them...

And if the cattle grazing people would just start to realize that wolves keep the elk herds scattered, so they don't bunch up into herds of 500 to 1000 in winter, we'd be on our way... I think the locals actually dislike elk more than they do wolves, although they don't like either one. They don't seem to realize that while the wolves may not eat a huge number of elk, they do keep them well-dispersed. NO other predator does that as well. If elk are not kept dispersed and on the move they will quickly decimate an area, just like a bunch of sheep. The locals may like to hunt elk but they do not like the elk getting into their pastures and haybarns in winter, and breaking down all their fences. It is very costly. And lest you say we should remove all the cattle, well, yes, but I don't think that is going to happen. And cattle grazing is managed by the government agencies a lot better than elk grazing. Just my opinion. There are far too many elk for that particular region to support. Even without the cattle.

To paraphrase Aldo Leopold, the forest fears the deer. The forest needs the wolf.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PLC92084 » Feb 03 2011 10:15 am

If Elk are such a big problem, why don't the various agencies open the affected areas to hunting? I'm sure there would be plenty of folks interested in getting a permit so they don't have to drive to Idaho, Montana, etc.

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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 03 2011 7:54 pm

The White Mountains are famous for elk hunts! Elk hunts are held from September through December, and depredation hunts during the winter. And cow/anlerless hunts, with lots of tags. Archery hunts, and muzzleloader hunts and junior hunts, etc., etc. It makes a dent. But there are something like 40,000 elk.

Human hunters do not accomplish herd dispersement. That is part of what we are talking about, not just the number of elk.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Feb 03 2011 8:06 pm

I put in for some hunts over in the Springerville area this year...hopefully I get drawn.
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 03 2011 9:36 pm

@PageRob
Unit 1 or Unit 27?
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Re: Mexican Wolf numbers fall

Post by PaleoRob » Feb 03 2011 9:37 pm

I'd have to double check. I think 1.
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