Mistake or Not Wanted?
|Arizona and New Mexico have a Mexican gray wolves reintroduction program but some of these wolves are ending up dead from gunshot wounds. Is it because they have been mistaken for coyotes or are they just not wanted?
The reintroduction is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, USDA-Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official book that tracks the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters preceding the number indicate adult animals two years or older (M = Male, F = Female). Capital letter "A" preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves. Lower case letters indicate sub-adults or pups (m = male, f = female).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the recent shooting deaths of three Mexican gray wolves. An additional $5,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity. The Lupine Pack alpha female, AF169, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 15 near Maverick Mountain on the White Mountain Apache Reservation; Saddle Pack yearling female, f645, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 5, near Forest Road 117, south of Highway 60, in the Greens Peak area near Vernon; and Lupine yearling male, m630, was found dead from gunshot wounds December 3, 18 miles northwest of Springerville, south of Highway 60 in Apache County, Arizona.
Investigations into the illegal killing of four other Mexican wolves are also still being conducted:
Campbell Blue alpha female, AF174, was shot on August 7, 1998, in the Williams Valley area near Alpine, Arizona.
Hawk's Nest male, m532, was found dead from gunshot wounds near the Arizona/New Mexico state line on November 7, 1998.
Hawk's Nest male, m531, was found dead from gunshot wounds on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on November 23, 1998.
Francisco yearling male, m590, was found dead from gunshot wounds on December 18, 2000, approximately one-half mile north of Highway 12 in the Apache National Forest's Divide wood cutting area near Aragon, New Mexico.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful should call one of these agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, Arizona at (480) 835-8289 or Pinetop at (928) 367-5689; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263.
The killing of a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of federal and of Arizona and New Mexico state laws. Violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and/or six months in jail, or a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
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