A new web site, Lobos of the Southwest
By Ralph Maughan On March 30, 2009 · 14 Comments · In Mexican Wolves, Wolves
Lobos of the Southwest is the first website totally devoted to the conservation of the Mexican wolf, although there is an “anti” web site.
This is a much needed development.
Tagged with: lobo wolves
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
14 Responses to A new web site, Lobos of the Southwest
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why did government agents eradicate Mexican wolves ? i couldn’t find that answer…
Check out the following from the page entitled “Lobo History.” I think it makes the reason pretty clear:
“Thousands of Mexican gray wolves roamed the Southwest prior to the arrival of European settlers. Two events set the stage for the eventual eradication of Mexican wolves. First, increasing numbers of market and sport hunters shot the native prey of wolves, such as deer and elk, to near extinction. Second, cattle and sheep were moved into the Southwest in large numbers, damaging habitats and further reducing wild ungulate (hoofed mammal) populations. Faced with almost no natural prey, wolves preyed on domestic stock to survive.
After the decades-long failure of bounties, the livestock industry pressured the U.S. Biological Survey (later to become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) to exterminate wolves. The agency reported killing more than 900 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico from 1915 – 1925; many more may have been poisoned and not found.
The effort was so effective that breeding packs were wiped out across the southwestern United States by the early 1940s, leaving a ragged and perpetually harassed population of lobos in northern Mexico. Over the next 30 years, Mexican wolves made repeated efforts to recolonize U.S. habitats, but were always hunted down. The last three Mexican wolves were killed in the U.S. in 1970.
Having finished the job in the U.S., the government exported its wolf eradication expertise to Mexico and exterminated wolves there, too. No wild wolves have been documented in Mexico since 1980.”
I’m glad that part of our history is behind us !
Micheal Robinson’s “Predatory Bureaucracy” explains very clearly what happen to wolves. The US Biological Survey nee Wildlife Services was the culprit.
Sorry to say Brian but that part of history is alive and kicking down in the Gila and Apache N.F. area. The Mexican Wolf Recovery has suffered a high rate of attrition attributable to poachers, AND a weak to non-existant law enforcement.
Indeed, there are still problems, as Chris points out. But with the help a public aroused by this new website, we’re hoping to see some real changes before too long.
Actually, poaching has accounted for about 30-odd removals from the population, while “management removals” have been almost twice as numerous–including 11 lobos shot by the project, 13 dead as a direct or indirect result of trapping, and an additional 34 removed but not re-released to date–a grand total of about 58. If we could reduce or eliminate “control” removals, the losses due to poaching, as bad as they are, would be much less damaging.
Perhaps removing the “experimenta, non-essential” designation from the wolf, Canus lupis baileyi. This sub species really needs to returned to the endangered list. To hell with the ranching interests, and their politician friends.
Why do they implement “control”/”management” removals if this is a federally listed species ?
What is the greatest threat to the lobo right now ? is it poaching ? is it federal “control”… why would the feds “control” a federally listed species ?
They implement “control” removals due to pressure from livestock industry elements, including their pet politicians. such as our former, unlamented Congress critter, Steve Pearce.
The greatest threat to the lobo is still federal “control,” although there was an uptick in poaching in 2008. Management removals of entire, often prolific, packs in 2007 had enormous repercussions in 2008, in terms of dampening population growth and in reducing the number of breeding pairs to a pitiful two. The numbers tell the story (See my post above.).
They “control” a federally listed species because livestock interests still dominate local politics to a great degree. We’re working hard to change that.
Rick Hammel is right on target in suggesting that what’s needed is a change to a fully endangered, or experimental essential, designation.
Catron County was, I believe, the birthplace of the Sagebush Rebellion. The ranchers and most of the power stakeholders do not want any federal intervention in their lifestyle, and that particularly goes for wolves. (They will accept grazing fee subsidation and range improvement funds though.) I’m also inclined to think that many of the poachers are also in charge of wolf “management and control”
Robinson’s book is great and so are the following :
Vanishing Lobo by Burbank and
The Wolf in the Southwest by Brown
Would it be fair and honest to say that the enfranchised Livestock Industry, armed & enabled via the federal government, is the greatest threat to Mexican wolf recovery ?
Interesting site. Does anyone know how serious the idea of reintroducing wolves is in Mexico?
Does somebody have any news or infos about that wolf project going on “south of the border”? The only info available so far was a thread over on the Demarcated Landscape blog in January. They said 6 animals enroute from the USA to a facility in Mexico. The link to the newspaper article is however broken in the meantime.
The classic book about the Lobo is “The Wolf in the Southwest,” by David E. Brown. I purchased a paperback copy while at the visitor’s center, Sevilleta NWR, in south-central N.M. a few years ago. Great book. Well worth a read, if only to find out the details of the war that was carried out against the Lobo. I believe this NWR still serves as a captive breeding locale for the Lobo. Take a look at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/Sevilleta/