ABQjournal: Gila Wolf Eludes Pursuers By Tania Soussan, Journal Staff Writer
Efforts to remove a pair of cattle-killing wolves and their pups from the Gila National Forest are continuing.
The Francisco Pack alpha pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves is under a “lethal take” order for killing four cattle on Gila grazing allotments. They also could be removed from the wild through trapping.
The male wolf has avoided sharpshooters and traps for weeks.
Biologists are focusing now on capturing or killing the uncollared male but he remains elusive, said program manager John Morgart of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency had intended to kill that male wolf in the trap if he was caught but has reversed its decision.
The male was born in the wild but never can be released again because he has killed so many cows, and he does not have the valuable genetics to make him a candidate for captive breeding, Morgart said.
New Mexico Game Commission Chairman Guy Riordan said he told the Fish and Wildlife Service that the state Game and Fish Department prefers to see the wolf captured rather than killed.
“There’s value in all the animals,” he said.
Morgart said the male could be useful in helping to rear his pups if all the animals are taken into captivity.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said he hopes the male escapes both trapping and shooting, but he praised the decision not to kill him in a trap.
“We’re pleased that New Mexico Game and Fish has won this small concession,” he said.
The female wolf is in a den with four or five young pups, and biologists are using her to lure the male. They also are putting out meat for her to eat.
“We haven’t had any luck drawing him into an area where he can be trapped or where he can be seen to be shot,” Morgart said. “The goal is to remove him from the area in the most efficient way possible.”
Once the male is caught or shot, biologists will try to trap the female and then grab her pups. But she also is under a kill order and that option might need to be used before the pups leave the den five or six weeks from now, Morgart said.
The female also could be hard to trap because she has been caught several times before and is trap savvy, he said. If she is killed, an older pair of wolves already in captivity “would be great surrogate parents,” Morgart said.
A male yearling from the pack was captured two weeks ago and is in captivity. The three adults can never return to the wild but the pups could.
Pay the ranchers enough that they look forward to wolves killing their cows. mjh
ABQjournal: Around New Mexico
Meetings To Examine Gray Wolf Program
The Adaptive Management Work Group for the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program will hold a series of public meetings this month to discuss a review of the program and proposed changes.
The meetings will be June 15 in Reserve, June 16 in Silver City, June 17 in Truth or Consequences and June 18 in Albuquerque.
The meetings will include a 30-minute presentation on the program five-year review, proposed standard operating procedures and a proposed one-year moratorium on some new wolf releases followed by a 21/2-hour “open forum” session for the public to speak.
Written comments will be accepted through July 31. Details about the meetings and documents about the review and proposals are available at http://azgfd.gov/wolf and http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov or by calling 346-2525.