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Threats to humans led to wolf killing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service killed M1130, a male Mexican wolf, in Catron County after several incidents involving people and residences, according to a memorandum written by Benjamin Tuggle, director of the Southwest Region.

Although just released back into the wild April 21 from captivity at Sevilleta’s Wolf Management Facility, the captive-bred M1130 was exhibiting escalating nuisance behavior, including increasing activity near residents and neighborhoods in Catron County.

As a result, the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team, or IFT, was given permission to try to remove him from the wild. Authorized capture methods included trapping, darting and lethal take. The IFT had several traps set and made multiple attempts to dart the animal. However, these efforts failed and IFT implemented lethal take.

Several incidents were documented in the memo.

Late in the evening of May 17, the IFT received notification from Catron County “that they are investigating a wolf incident near a trailer on Eagle Peak Road.”

The incident investigation showed that a wolf was circling around an occupied trailer for approximately 30 minutes until it got dark, despite the resident making noise and trying to get the wolf out of the area. There was a dog at the trailer that the resident put up right after seeing the wolf, the memorandum said.

The next day, the IFT documented it was M1130 and stayed in the area that evening to attempt to dart, haze or set traps if the animal returned to the area.

On May 19, the team searched in vain around Reserve and Eagle Peak for a signal of the animal. However, the Catron County wolf investigator, who had been in the area of an incident near Luna, called the team at 6 p.m.

That situation involved a wolf hanging around a residential area and three separate incidents involving humans.

At 8 a.m., a 21-year-old man fishing for minnows in a creek saw a wolf watching him about 15 feet away, from across the creek. He slowly backed up, but the wolf did not move.

About 10 a.m., a 12-year-old girl riding her horse saw what she at first believed was a coyote in the field chasing cattle. She loped toward the area and saw the animal was a wolf.

Her horse spooked and jerked the reins out of her hands. The horse went back toward the house while the wolf was about 30 yards behind.

During the day, a 2-year-old boy was told to feed the dogs. He indicated to his mother that the “neighbor’s dog” was out there. She saw it was actually a wolf and was only 10 to 25 yards from the boy.

The wolf in all three incidents, M1130, was consistently near people and was seen during the day by IFT personnel and the Catron County wolf investigator. The IFT chased the wolf and fired a dart at the wolf but missed.

The IFT then set traps and left the area. The next day, IFT personnel checked traps and set additional traps.

In addition, the wolf was seen chasing elk in the general area of the incidents on the previous day.

An annual survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February confirmed that there are a total of 19 packs, with a minimum of 53 wolves spread among forested lands in New Mexico.

Agents kill wolf that came near humans

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