Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf at Heart of Political Battle In Southwest

"Federal efforts to recover wolf population expose bitter tension between anti-government and environmentalist activists."

"CATRON COUNTY, N.M. — Last year, government agents removed a pair of Mexican gray wolves from the Southwestern United States. They were accused of preying on livestock, and their time in the wild was over. Today the female lives in captivity. The male was killed, but his genetic legacy may live into the future.

“Unfortunately, when he was examined by a veterinarian at a facility in New York, it was determined he had a large mass in his abdomen and had to be euthanized,” said Sherry Barrett, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican wolf recovery coordinator. Working with state and tribal partners, the agency has been trying to recover the species that had been hunted to near extinction in the mid-20th century.

As state and federal political administrations have changed over time, support for the program to recover the Mexican gray wolf population has waxed and waned. Southwestern ranchers remain virulently opposed to the predator. And, like the two captured last year, wolves suspected of feeding on livestock — or that roam outside the official recovery area — are removed from the wild and sometimes killed. But the challenges the program faces run even deeper — and may have more to do with how humans see one another than with how wolves themselves move across the landscape."

Laura Paskus reports for Aljazeera America March 13, 2014
 

Thursday, March 13, 2014