Local & Regional News

Endangered Mexican gray wolf population increases, but questions linger about recovery progress

The Arizona Republic (Original) Posted April 9, 2019, Updated April 10, 2019 by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

The endangered Mexican gray wolf population is making slow but steady progress, according to the results of an annual survey.

The number of wolves in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico grew from 117 to 131 animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a 12 percent increase.

Arizona is home to 64 of the wolves and the other 67 were counted in New Mexico.

This is the highest the wolf count has been since 1998, when the U.S. government, in cooperation with state and Mexican agencies, began releasing captive-bred wolves into the wild.

It’s small but significant progress for the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf, an animal that humans had at one point completely eradicated from the U.S. Southwest.

The agency noted last year’s growth occurred despite 21 documented wolf deaths. This was also the highest number of recorded wolf deaths since reintroducing the species back into the wild.

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Cronkite News: April 9, 2019 Noon Update on more Mexican gray wolves are roaming around the American Southwest

Cronkite News (Original) Posted April 9, 2019

Watch the Facebook video of the noon news update with an interview by Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project's Executive Director. Summary: The proposed bill that would allow employers to pay young workers who are attending school less than the state minimum wage is nearly dead. Plus, more Mexican gray wolves are roaming around the American Southwest.

Press Release: Feds Release Good News About Imperiled Mexican Wolves

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2019

Contact:
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.
Mary Katherine Ray, Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter, 575-772-5655, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kelly Burke, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, 928-606-7870, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club -Grand Canyon Chapter, 602-253-8633, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FEDS RELEASE GOOD NEWS ABOUT IMPERILED MEXICAN WOLVES
The annual count of Mexican wolves in the wild has revealed marginal gains after a year of record deaths

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 131 wolves. This increase of 12% from last year comes despite a record number of wolf deaths for the recovery effort in 2018, and ongoing critical concern for genetic diversity in the wild population.

Wolf advocates braced for the news, while the annual count was delayed due to the partial government shutdown and as a sweeping delisting edict was issued for northern gray wolves by the Trump administration. With today’s release of the count results, wolf supporters across the country express cautious hope.

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Survey: More Mexican Gray Wolves Roaming Southwestern US

KNAU Arizona Public Radio (Original) Posted April 8, 2019 by the Associated Press

More Mexican gray wolves are roaming the American Southwest now than at any time since federal biologists began reintroducing the predators more than two decades ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday.

Agency officials declared progress for the endangered species in New Mexico and Arizona, saying there are at least 131 wolves in the wild in the two states. That represents a 12% jump in the population.

The rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America, Mexican wolves have struggled to gain ground since the first release in 1998 because of poaching, politics, legal challenges and even complications from a lack of genetic diversity.

"The Mexican gray wolf has come back from the brink of extinction thanks to scientific management and the dedicated work of a lot of partners," said Amy Lueders, head of the agency's southwest region.

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Study Shows Mexican Gray Wolf is a Distinct Subspecies

KNAU Arizona Public Radio (Original) Posted March 28, 2019 by Ryan Heinsius

Biologists with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have declared that the Mexican gray wolf is a valid subspecies. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it strengthens the case for keeping the animal’s federally endangered status.

According to the report sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexican wolves are the most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America. They have unique physical characteristics like head shape, size and color that sets them apart.

The report also confirms that the current managed population of the wolves in the Southwest is directly descended from the last remaining wild members of the species.

The Trump administration proposed removing all federal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states earlier this month, but Mexican gray wolves would keep their endangered status. Conservationists say the new study supports continuing the designation. At last count there were about 114 of the animals in eastern Arizona and New Mexico.

In addition, the report found the endangered red wolf in the Southeastern U.S. is also a distinct species. There are only about two dozen remaining in the wild.

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