The government has produced its 2007 Mexican wolf population survey. It shows a slight downtrend in the already too low figures — 52 wolves down from 59 in 2006.  “Altogether, 22 wolves were removed from the wild in 2007 compared to 18 the previous year; 19 for depredating livestock.”

They are going into 2008 with only 3 breeding pairs! There is no indication that controversy about a ranch hand baiting in a wolf so it could be “legally” killed by the government for killing a cow calf has made any difference at all.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

12 Responses to Mexican Wolf Population Survey is complete for 2007. The population is low and declining

  1. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Holy cow…what I meant to say is “Good read here, concerning this matter”:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2008/mexican-wolves-02-07-2008.html

  2. I had a conversation with a wildlife biologist from New Mexico yesterday about Mexican Wolves. He said that one of the problems in New Mexico is that we are putting 70 lb. Mexican Wolves in areas where elk are the main prey species available and that the Mexican Wolves are just not big enough to take down elk. This leads them to start preying on domestic livestock.

  3. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Larry – Not so sure about the validity of the biologists’ opinion. First, I am by no means a biologist but I do keep in touch with the wolf project on a regular basis and the issue of elk being too big has never been of concern. Do you know if the biologist was part of the wolf recovery program?
    I would like to hear more about this if in fact it is true.

  4. avatar Layton says:

    “In June 2007, the prestigious American Society of Mammalogists advised ceasing predator control against Mexican wolves at least until the interim goal of 100 wolves has been achieved.”

    Excuse me, but WHY would ANY agency in it’s right mind, with the history of the introduction in the Northwest readily available, be willing to give up any kind of legal control measures??

    What was the number that was originally set as a basis for the start of delisting procedures in the three state area of the Northwest?? What is the number now?

    Flame away!!

    Layton

  5. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Concerning Predation, From the 2005 Mexican Wolf Recovery Progress Report, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Wolf Predation
    In 2005, the project conducted intensive aerial winter monitoring of Cienega Pack, Iris
    Pack, Hawks Nest Pack and Rim Pack to determine predator/prey relationships. The
    Aspen Pack was also monitored daily during this period for management purposes,
    however, they were not included in the Winter Study. During the six-week period
    between January 28 to March 13, 2005, 35 flights were conducted with eight flights
    cancelled due to weather. A total of 13 kills or carcasses were located for an average of
    one kill/carcass located for every 2.7 flights. Of the 13 kills/carcasses investigated, 84.6
    % were elk (n=11) and 15.4% were domestic cattle (n=2). Age and sex determinations of
    the elk revealed 64% as adult cows (n=7), 9% yearling bulls (n=1), and 27% calves
    (n=3). The two domestic cattle carcasses observed in the study were both investigated by
    Wildlife Services and determined to have been cases of scavenging, not depredation.
    Of the 13 kills/carcasses investigated, 62% (n=8) were associated with the Iris Pack, of
    which six were adult cow elk and two were scavenged domestic cows. The Hawks Nest
    Pack was associated with 15% (n=2) of the kills/carcasses, both of which were elk calves.
    The Rim Pack was associated with 23% (n=3) of the kills/carcasses, two of which were
    adult cow elk and one was a yearling bull elk. No kills were associated with Cienega
    Pack possibly due to the single wolf status of F487 as a result of the breakup of the
    Cienega Pack and subsequent wide ranging movements of F487 outside of her traditiona

  6. avatar Jeff N. says:

    My previous post refers to Larry’s post that claims he was told by a biologist that Mexican Gray Wolves are having a hard time taking down elk.

  7. avatar todd says:

    twenty two Mexican wolves were removed in New Mexico in 2007 (that is equal to the number left in NM, meaning 1 of out every 2 wolves in NM was removed in 2007) — all of those removals can be tied to a handful of public lands grazing allotments (less than 5) — two of which are owned by a billionaire from Mexican doing hobby ranching.

    the wolves will do just fine. there would be more than 70 in AZ and NM right now if it were not for FWS being so trigger happy.

    todd.

  8. avatar Howard says:

    I think it might be helpful for someone to repost here (or direct a link) the actual Mexican wolf recovery program as it currently stands, pointing out the major barriers to any real success inherent in the current plan. I think that in some circles, there is a belief or suspicion that the relative failure of the Mexican wolf program stems from the wolves themselves; that is, that the captive bred wolves that were reintroduced to AZ and NM really couldn’t hack it out in the wild. While it is true that the captive bred wolves will have a more difficult time acclimating to the wild (than wild wolves that are relocated) and probably experience more (at least initial) mortality and mishaps, it is my understanding that the Mexican wolves did indeed hack it as wild animals…killing mainly wild prey, forming packs, reproducing etc. The red wolf program in NC was also started from captive bred wolves, but that program has gone much better. The Mexican wolf program is failing because of the huge number of wolves that get removed from the recovering population by the FWS (and some illegal killings), the fact that the designated recovery area was drawn up on political rather than biological lines, and that there seems to be many people actively trying to sabotage the program while the FWS has been rendered largely toothless when it comes to protecting the wolves. Again, I think it would be helpful to people (including myself) to repost the details of this plan.

  9. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Howard makes some good points about captive raised being able to “hack it” in the wild. As I posted on a different thread, As of 1/8/08 the minimum Mexican wolf population in the wild stood at 59 animals, 43 of which where born in the wild. Obviously, if allowed to behave as wild wolves, they would be just fine. As Howard stated, and most of us know, wolf removal from the wild by humans is the reason the program is faltering.

  10. avatar Artemis says:

    The official site for wolf info is http://www.fws.gov
    You can find more then you ever wanted to know on this site. The news for Mexican wolves is pretty bad so far. These wolves have been micro managed due to the political pro livestock views here in the southwest. Concessions were made to get the wolves on the ground back in 1998. Now the program finds itself held hostage by a few public lands ranchers. These people are trying to convince people to fear the wolves. Believe it or not, some are attempting to teach thier nieghbors that these wolves have been stalking people.

  11. avatar Maska says:

    For additional information, from a non-agency perspective, check out http://www.mexicangraywolf.org.

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