Local & Regional News

Can Mexican gray wolves survive in Mexico? Ranchers, advocates square off in familiar debate

The Arizona Republic (Original) Posted May 13, 2018 by Alex Devoid

In November 2011, Mexican officials found the carcass of a Mexican gray wolf near a ranch in Sonora, poisoned and left to die.

A few weeks later, in December, officials found three more dead wolves, all poisoned, their skin showing similar lesions.

The wolves belonged to the first Mexican gray wolf pack released from captivity onto the Mexican landscape since private and government eradication campaigns nearly drove the species extinct in the middle of the last century.

Officials had reintroduced the pack into the wild on Marcelo Rascón’s ranch near Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico, in October 2011.

“It was kind of a big deal,” Rascón said.

Only one wolf from the pack survived the 2011 poisonings. She was the eldest female of the bunch and had wandered off from the others.

The deaths would be a temporary setback in efforts to establish a wolf population in Mexico, but would also renew debate over the importance of wolves in Mexico to the overall survival of the imperiled species.

Under a long-awaited recovery plan released last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife managers in this country won’t remove the wolf from the endangered species list until an average of 200 wolves roam Mexico and 320 roam in parts of the U.S. for eight years.

As of July 2017, about 31 wolves roamed the wild in Mexico, although officials released a total of 41 wolves in the 5 years following that first release in 2011.

Read more ...

Judge's ruling could mean Mexican wolves allowed to roam north of Flagstaff

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted April 4, 2018 by Emery Cowan

Conservation groups are hoping that a federal judge’s ruling will mean Mexican gray wolves will be allowed to venture north of Interstate 40 and expand in number beyond a current target of 325 animals.

The ruling, issued Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps, orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise a management rule for the endangered wolves that was approved in 2015.

That rule established the 325-animal population objective and established wolf recovery habitat boundaries, beyond which Mexican wolves would be captured and returned. A total of about 114 wolves now roam the defined area that spans eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, with I-40 forming the northern edge.

But the rule received harsh criticism from Zipps, who said it failed to further the recovery of the species.

“By failing to provide for the population’s genetic health, (the Fish and Wildlife Service) has actively imperiled the long-term viability of the species in the wild,” Zipps wrote. She said the rule only ensures the short-term survival of the species and specifically called out the rule’s territory boundary as an “insufficient geographic range” for the wolves.

Read more ...

20 years later, Mexican wolf program frustrates all sides

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted March 28, 2018 by Susan Montoya Bryan of the Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — On the edge of the Mogollon Rim in eastern Arizona, snow covered the ground and blizzard conditions were setting in as biologists prepared to open the gates to a trio of pens, releasing three packs of Mexican gray wolves that would soon have the distinction of being the first of their kind to roam the wild in decades.

Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of that release and a major milestone for an effort that started decades earlier when the predators were first declared an endangered species.

In the months following the 1998 release, five of the 11 wolves were poached and the remaining animals had to be captured and paired with new mates before being released again. The wild population has struggled to gain significant ground, and only recently reached a high of 114 wolves.

Read more ...

9th annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival returns to Flagstaff April 14

Grand Canyon News (Original) Posted March 27, 2018 by Erin Ford

Event includes seven films, raffle, live music and silent auction to benefit Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A series of films about the world’s most endangered animals — including Arizona’s Mexican gray wolves — takes center stage April 14 at the Coconino Center for the Arts.

The annual event proceeds benefit the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. Adult admission is $14, student admission is $12 and children aged 12 and under is $6. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at https://gcwolfrecovery.org/tickets or at the door the night of the event.

This year’s festival will feature seven films, including the featured film “Right to be Wild” by Flgastaff documentary filmmaker Katja Torneman. The film documents the discovery of the last wild lobos and the conservationists tasked with saving them from extinction — it includes rare footage of the capture of the last wild lobos, biologists tracking Lobos from helicopters and on the ground, wolf ecotourism, conservationists, everyday citizens and students working to raise the natural wild population.

Torneman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker – she was awarded the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for her local children’s film “Anna, Emma and the Condors.”

Other films include:
A Letter to Congress (3 min) — Wallace Stegner’s 1960 letter to Congress about the importance of wilderness is the framework for a new message, one in which our unified voice can help prevent the transfer of our most valuable heritage — our public lands — to private and corporate interests.
Can we Save the Frog Prince? (13 min) - After surviving for millions of years, frogs around the world are disappearing in a global extinction crisis.
Canis Lupus Colorado (18 min) — Gray wolves shaped this place for eons only to disappear nearly overnight. Canis Lupus Colorado is the story of the past, present, and future of Colorado’s now extinct native wolf population.
Forgotten But Not Gone: The Pacific Fisher (8 min) — For the past 20 years, conservation organizations have advocated for listing Pacific fisher under the Endangered Species Act. Despite the emergence of new threats, in April of 2016, Fish and Wildlife reversed their decision.
The Invisible Mammal: The Bat Rescuer (10 min) — Beyond the impacts of climate change and habitat destruction, certain bat species in North America are also suffering population decline due to white nose syndrome.
Killing Games: Wildlife in The Crosshairs (10 min) — On any given weekend, some of America’s most iconic wildlife are massacred in wildlife killing contests that ignore the critical role apex predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

In addition to the films, live music will be provided by local Hopi musician and Museum of Northern Arizona’s artist-in-residence Ed Kabotie. There will also be a raffle and silent auction, and refreshments are available.

More information is available at https://gcwolfrecovery.org.

Dispersal: Moving out into a dangerous world

Flagstaff Live (Original) Posted March 22, 2018 by Peter Friederici

m1572 wolf photoMexican wolf m1572 on his last day. Photo by Michele James.

The story begins with a wolf standing by the side of the road. This isn’t the story you might think. There’s no helpless girl, no feckless pigs, no trickery. What there is, is hunger. Hunger for food, as always, and a hunger to roam. The woods are broad. Even though they are cross-stitched with fences and pocked with houses that must be avoided they extend on and on and they are rich with the tracks and scents of deer and elk and rabbits. The going is not difficult and it’s easy to find places to hide in rocky outcrops, thickets, copses of oak. It is only the roads themselves that are the challenge. It is second nature to figure out the trajectory and velocity needed to intercept a deer fleeing along a grassy meadow edge but the speed on roads is incalculable, incomprehensible, and the crossing is a gamble.

Or: the story begins with a young man, almost a boy still, on the side of the road. There’s no hunger, at least not of the deep-seated kind the wolf feels, the in-the-bones aching for protein. The suburbs are fat and if anything it is too easy to be sated: not only by food in a million varieties, but also by the sinuous winding of the well-kept roads, the smooth expanses of lawn, the houses kept up to a fare-thee-well, the friends and acquaintances who all seem to accept it as a given. It’s all too easy, too shiny, too manicured. No, this hunger is of a different sort. Call it a need for emotional protein.

Read more ...

More Articles ...