Governor Stands Up For Mexican Wolves

Governor Richardson Issues Trapping Restrictions in Lobo Country

Governor Stands Up For Mexican Wolves .
WildEarth Guardians – Press Release






  1. Daniel Berg Avatar
    Daniel Berg

    If the number of lobos keep dwindling, is there a certain threshold that the population can hit that there would be no real hope for them to recover? From what I can tell from the news, the population is no higher than 39 excluding pups.

  2. timz Avatar

    Obummer should have made him Interior Secretary.

  3. pointswest Avatar

    New Mexico is a very differnt state from Arizona. I would expect something like this from New Mexico as where Arizona is going to want to keep all the Lobos in zoos where people will need to pay to see them. Arizona is, God’s country, after all.

    There is the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico that will probably always harbor a few Lobos and keep them safe from humans but for the species to be safe from extinction, they need more protected land.

    1. Jeff N. Avatar
      Jeff N.


      At the end of 2009 AZ had 27 lobos and NM had 15. Under the recovery program Lobos cannot be directly released into NM. All releases take place in AZ. If USFWS and AZGF trap wolves in AZ, they can then be released in NM. Of course wolves have wandered from from AZ to NM and this is acceptable under the plan.

      My point here is that NM has been very difficult to deal with regarding the recovery of the Lobo.

      Unfortunately the wolves seem not to prefer the Gila Wilderness or the Blue Range Primitive area in AZ. Most of the packs have set up territories outside these 2 protected areas, resulting in wolves that are more easily poached from forest roads.

      New Mexico has not shown any greater tolerance for the Lobo than AZ. You can make a good argument that NM has actually shown less tolerance.

    2. pointswest Avatar

      Jeff…thanks, that is some interesting information. I wonder why New Mexico did not allow the original releasess Some of the captive breeding was done at the Albuquerque Zoo and it recieved a lot of special attention from the news media and support from the public. I suspect that there are some technical legal issues at work. I do know New Mexico is different from any other state because it is the only American state that is based on Spanish common law rather than English common law. If New Mexico had legal barriers, I suspect it was that a very few were able mount them because of legal technicalities and not because of broad political support.

      I can also understand that wolves may do better in the high mesas of the Mogollon Rim over the rugged mountains of the Gila Wildnerss. There are more elk in the high mesas than in rugged mountains. The Gila Wilderness is protected and is remote, however. Some will always be able to hang on there.

      I lived in both states and I still believe there is more broad political support for Lobos in New Mexico than in Arizona. You raise some very interesting questions.

    3. Maska Avatar

      The Final Rule that governs the reintroduction was crafted in 1998. The political scene in New Mexico was very different then, with a very different Game Commission in place. I suspect that had the Rule been written during Gov. Richardson’s tenure, with the current Game Commission in place, the ban on direct releases into NM would not exist. Richardson, for all his ethical lapses, has been a pretty good friend of the environment in general, and a very good friend of the Mexican gray wolf.

  4. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    Richardson is too close with oil and gas to be Sec of Interior.
    He’s no Wyatt but he ain’t biocentric either.

    The majority of NM voters live in Albq and Cruces not “Lobo Country”. So this is an easy stance for him politically.

    Does anyone know how much trapping takes place in the area he’s addressing? Are wolves dying due to trapping practices? Aren’t most off the killings taking place in AZ?

    1. pointswest Avatar

      The mascot for the University of New Mexico in Albquerque is the Lobo. They care. I graduated from UNM and lived in Albuquerque for 10 years.

    2. Maska Avatar

      Out of 14 trap-related injuries of Mexican gray wolves documented by USFWS, 12 have been in New Mexico, where trapping on public lands is legal. It is illegal in AZ.

  5. Davej Avatar

    This is a significant issue. At least 14 Mexican wolves have been trapped, 12 of which were in NM. Arizona does not permit trapping on public lands, that’s why only two there. There have been two Mexican wolves that had legs amputated as a result of trapping injuries.

    1. Maska Avatar

      One of those wolves is the alpha male of the Middle Fork pack in New Mexico. Her mate also has only three legs—with his amputation having been due to an injury of unknown cause. I have heard it stated in public by a project official that it was due to a gunshot.

    2. pointswest Avatar

      Yeah…well what I did not like about New Mexico (and Arizona) is the violence especially with guns. Gun shots were common in Albuquerque. It has about the highest violent crime rate in the USA. When I first moved there, I looked at into an apparment complex where the landlord carried a six shooter like some old west cowboy. He said he was able to cut out a lot of the trouble by carrying the gun. I was advised to carry a knife with me in Albuquerque and I did and it probably saved me a few times. Violence and gun violence is just a fact of life in the Southwest. I am a pretty mellow person and I could recount at least four or six incidences where gun play was involved and it was not I who was making threats with guns.

      It is too bad the Lobos are not surviving because they keep getting shot up. It is all the more reason why we need to set the Gila/Mogollon Rim aside as a park or reserve.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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