Local & Regional News

Letter to the Editor: The perfect time to increase Mexican gray wolves area

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted March 26, 2020 by David Spence, M.D.

The Daily Sun article on 3/18/20 had some "howling" good news: the January 2020 count of Mexican Gray Wolves living in the wild is 24% higher than the previous year. The count of 164 is encouraging, but it is far short of scientists’ recommended recovery goal of more than 200 wolves in three or more separate, but connected areas. This long-running recovery effort is the product of an inter-agency field team that deserves our thanks and praise.

Commenting on this good news, Emily Renn with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project said, "The growing population of Mexican gray wolves in the wild needs access to additional suitable habitat where packs can spread out and provide ecological benefits as a keystone species. With court-ordered revisions for the wolves' management plan on the horizon, now is the perfect opportunity to increase the area where wolves can be released and establish territories north of Interstate 40 and in the Grand Canyon region."

Increasing the territory for these iconic wild animals will have two additional benefits: (1) Wolves will have more access to abundant native prey and less conflict with livestock in national parks. (2) The genetic diversity, that is essential for the wolves to thrive, will be easier to achieve with packs north of the I-40. Letters to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requesting this territorial expansion will help make it happen. They will be accepting comments soon during a scoping period on the Mexican wolf management plan.


Press Release: More Wolves Searching for Mates

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2020

Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, 602-999-5790, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kelly Burke, Wild Arizona, 928-606-7870, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Greta Anderson, Western Watershed Project, 520-623-1878, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, 914-763-2373 x200, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, (928) 202-1325, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The annual Mexican gray wolf population count revealed the steady increase in numbers continues,
but what does it mean for wolves looking for mates?

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service released the results of its annual wild Mexican gray wolf population count today, revealing that the number of wolves has increased to a minimum of 163 wolves. This increase of 24% from last year comes despite the critical decline in genetic health of the wild population. The young, newly collared wolves will disperse in search of mates to form new packs, but are less likely to bear a more genetically diverse generation without the release of more wolves from breeding facilities.

Wolf advocates continue to celebrate the efforts of breeding facilities around the United States who have worked with the USFWS to introduce young pups into active, wild dens, a difficult process called cross-fostering. This year’s efforts were more successful than in the past, in part due to USFWS placing the maximum number of pups into dens that the state agencies will allow. Nevertheless, the deliberate choice to avoid releasing well-bonded pairs of wolves with pups since 2006 has led to a reality where cross-fostering alone is likely too little, too late.

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Wildlife Managers Investigate Deaths Of 3 Mexican Gray Wolves

KNAU Arizona Public Radio (Original) Posted February 20, 2020 by the Associated Press

State and federal wildlife managers are investigating the death of three endangered Mexican Gray Wolves found last month in Arizona.

Officials with the wolf recovery team did not release any details about the circumstances of the animals' deaths or the specific areas where they were found.

One of the wolves was a female that belonged to the Saffel Pack. The other two were single females.

Officials also reported that wolves were found to be responsible for seven livestock kills and two nuisance incidents last month.

The wolf reintroduction program covers parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

Health of packs studied, new wolves identified in annual Mexican gray wolf count

The Arizona Republic (Original) Posted February 10, 2020 by Debra Utacia Krol

ALPINE — On a clear, frosty February day in eastern Arizona, ice hugs sidewalks and piles up in the shade of pine trees, steep slopes and buildings. Snowdrifts from a recent storm paint the nearby slopes glittering white in the bright sunlight, the promise of a warmer day ahead.

But while the temperature is just 36 degrees, the timing is right for the annual count of the endangered Mexican gray wolf across east-central Arizona and western New Mexico. The process usually stretches from November to the beginning of February.

For the past three months, biologists and technicians have roamed the region enumerating wolves and their packs in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila national forests. They’re members of the Interagency Field Team, a consortium of federal, tribal and state agencies charged with ensuring the recovery of one of the country's most imperiled wolf species.

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WMAT veteran takes on new role with wolf team

White Mountain Independent (Original) Posted February 7, 2020 by Trudy Balcom

WHITE MOUNTAINS — A staffer with White Mountain Apache Tribe Game & Fish was part of a helicopter team during the recent wolf count.

Wolf technician Joseph Perez acted as a successful gunner, darting his first wolf from the chopper in only two shots.

Perez is a veteran of the US Army Airborne Special Forces.

“I was a parachute rigger. We rig personnel parachutes, heavy drop loads and do maintenance on all parachutes and equipment,” he explained. Perez completed about 60 jumps with the Army, also testing and jumping with a new type of parachute.

Previously Perez was a tech for one of the tribe’s other endangered species programs — the Mexican spotted owl. With his skills he was recommended for the position with the tribe’s wolf program.

As a wolf technician with WMAT Game and Fish, he is part of a team that helps manage wolf populations on the Fort Apache Reservation.

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