Activists, ranchers battle over federal wolf kills - Albuquerque Journal

Activists, ranchers battle over federal wolf kills

A Mexican gray wolf born at the ABQ BioPark. Four wolves were killed in southwestern New Mexico in March due to an increase in cattle predation. (Courtesy of ABQ BioPark)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Last month’s killing of four Mexican gray wolves in southwestern New Mexico by federal agencies has prompted outcries from wildlife groups.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on March 18 said there were 163 endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, a population increase for the second year in a row.

But 2019 was also the deadliest year for livestock killed by wolves, with 126 confirmed incidents in New Mexico and 58 in Arizona.

The current management plan for the animal allows agencies to “intentionally harass, implement non-lethal control measures, translocate, place in captivity, or lethally control problem wolves.”

One wolf was killed by the Interagency Field Team on March 23, and the other three were killed on March 28.

Wolves killing calves and adult cows was cited as the agency’s reason for all four lethal removals.

“These killings on behalf of the livestock industry are a shame, especially considering they happened right after the announcement of population increases,” Michael Robinson, advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Journal. “Some ranchers take efforts to protect their livestock, but some are really lackadaisical about it, so Fish and Wildlife ends up taking these measures, in one case killing an uncollared wolf pup.”

In a March 24 memo authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Program to remove three wolves, Brady McGee, coordinator of the Mexican gray wolf program, said livestock depredations had continued despite agencies working to “mitigate the scenario,” and were likely to continue without additional control measures.

“I am concerned with the numerous depredations in this area over a short period of time and the toll these depredations have caused the livestock producer,” McGee wrote. “It is the service’s intent to recover the Mexican wolf in a manner that reduces economic effects on the local livestock industry.”

The Interagency Field Team and groups like Defenders of Wildlife work with ranchers in wolf-occupied areas to prevent livestock depredations. Methods include removing animal carcasses that attract wolves, changing where calving operations take place and patrolling on horseback to scare away wolves. Fish and Wildlife memos authorizing the lethal wolf removals state that area ranchers had been taking preventative measures.

The wolves belonged to the Prieto Pack and the Mangas Pack in southwestern New Mexico. Both packs are in an area that had at least 20 confirmed livestock kills by wolves on federal or private land from September 2019 to mid-March.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 

Home » News » New Mexico News » Activists, ranchers battle over federal wolf kills

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
New Mexico seems determined to extend class time. What ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three competing proposals are on the ... Three competing proposals are on the table
2
New NM health secretary learning on the job after ...
ABQnews Seeker
Patrick Allen heads a key agency ... Patrick Allen heads a key agency on the front lines of the state’s pandemic response, after leaving behind a lengthy state government career in ...
3
Kenneth H. Martinez, 1954-2023: Former district judge ‘was good ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque native, 2nd Judicial District Court ... Albuquerque native, 2nd Judicial District Court judge had a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease
4
New Mexico bill would ban contracts for migration detention
ABQnews Seeker
Recently introduced bill could unwind contractual ... Recently introduced bill could unwind contractual arrangements at Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral
5
Native American leaders: Educational trust fund will be key
ABQnews Seeker
Native American leaders said creating a ... Native American leaders said creating a special $50 million trust fund to help finance educational p ...
6
Agency delays protections for imperiled bat, prairie chicken
ABQnews Seeker
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced ... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced new designations for the lesser prairie chicken set to take effect bumped to March 27
7
No drama for birthday llama: ABQ llama celebrates 27th ...
ABQnews Seeker
'This llama is bringing everyone together,' ... 'This llama is bringing everyone together,' says family friend
8
New Mountain West Commissioner Nevarez gives nod to former ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez ... New Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez discusses her new job in an ever-evolving college athletics landscape.
9
Talking Grammer, Ep. 59: MWC Commissioner Gloria Nevarez
ABQnews Seeker
In Episode 59 of the podcast, ... In Episode 59 of the podcast, we had a conversation with new Mountain West Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez.