Tragedy….Two Male Mexican Gray Alpha Wolves DEAD and a Third Alpha Male Missing!!

This is truly a tragedy.  Two Mexican gray alpha males have been found dead. The alpha male of the Hawks Nest Pack in Arizona was shot to death, his body found June 18. Now the alpha male of the San Mateo Pack in New Mexico has been found dead under a  cloud of suspicion.  A third alpha male from the Paradise pack, who called the Fort Apache Indian Reservation home, in Arizona, has been missing since mid-april.  I have no words at this moment to comprehend this tragedy. I’ll be posting more on this in the next day. Please keep these beleaguered wolves in your thoughts.  The Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered mammals in North America and the most endangered wolf sub-species in the world.

Two  Alpha Males Mexican Gray Wolves Dead

By Rene Romo
Friday, 02 July 2010 18:56

Agencies investigate the suspicious deaths of the two endangered wolves

LAS CRUCES — Federal law enforcement officials are investigating the suspicious deaths of two endangered Mexican gray wolves, both the alpha males of their packs, found in the past two weeks in Arizona and New Mexico.

The collared alpha male of a third pack, the Paradise pack that roamed the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona, also has been missing since mid-April.

The alpha male of the Hawks Nest Pack, one of only two packs to have produced a pup in 2009 that survived until the end of the year, was found shot to death June 18 in eastern Arizona, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week. On Friday, the agency confirmed that another wolf, the alpha male of the San Mateo Pack, was found dead under suspicious circumstances last week in New Mexico.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Charna Lefton would not say whether the San Mateo Pack wolf was shot because a necropsy to determine the official cause of death is pending, but she noted the case has been referred to law enforcement for investigation.

The San Mateo Pack, which consisted of an alpha male and female, had been observed traveling in the north-central portion of the Gila National Forest.

The effort to recover Mexican gray wolves in a swath of federal forests straddling the Arizona-New Mexico border has been beset by challenges since the first lobos were released in Arizona in 1998. Federal officials had expected the wild wolf population would grow to 100 wolves by the end of 2006, but the 2009 count totaled 42 wolves, down from 52 in the previous year.

A report issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service in May called illegal shootings the “single greatest source of wolf mortality in the reintroduced population.” Between 1998 and June 2009, 31 of 68 deaths of wild-roaming wolves were caused by illegal shooting, according to the report.

The Hawks Nest’s alpha female appears to have whelped seven pups this spring. The San Mateo and Paradise alpha females, the only surviving adults from those packs, have been observed denning, though the number of pups being raised is unknown, Lefton said.

The loss of an alpha male puts added pressure on surviving adult members of a pack to provide attention and food to pups at a critical time of year. The agency is providing supplemental food to the San Mateo and Paradise packs.

Federal and state agencies, along with conservation groups, have offered rewards totaling $52,000 for information leading to the apprehension of anyone responsible for the shooting death of a Mexican wolf.

The Fish and Wildlife Service described the Hawks Nest Pack, which traditionally roamed an area east of Big Lake in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest for its spring-summer breeding territory, as having “a proven record of avoiding domestic livestock in favor of native prey animals like elk and deer.”

The person and/or persons MUST be found and brought to justice!!!  Spread the word wolf warriors. They have to pay with looooooooong  jail sentences and huge fines!!


$50,000 REWARD

For information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing a Mexican Gray Wolf.

Or transporting Mexican wolf hides or parts.

Contact U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

at any of the following numbers:

(480) 967-7900 [Mesa AZ]

(928) 339-4232 [Alpine, AZ]

(505) 346-7828 [Albuquerque, NM]

Or call your local state Game and Fish office:

Arizona (800) 352-0700 New Mexico (800) 862-9310



Upper Photo: Courtesy National Geographic

Lower Photo: USFWS

Posted in: Mexican Gray Wolf, gray wolves, Wolf  Wars

Tags: $50,000 reward,  alpha males dead, poaching, Mexican gray wolves on brink, USFWS

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27 CommentsLeave a comment


    • I am so sad Agnes. These wolves are the most endangered wolf sub-species on the planet. Only 39 left in the wild with the loss of these three males.

      For the Mexican gray wolves, For the wild ones,

  2. Its not like the wolves aren’t already behind the eightball! So much hate for theses and other predators. My only hope is that they can catch, prosecute and barbecue the bastards that did this. This would send a clear message that if you are insidious enough to do such a disturbing act you will be held accountable! The punishment I had in mind? Public Hanging!

    • I’ve been crying since I found out last night Marc. It’s ruining my weekend. I want to catch these low lifes and see them brought to justice. $50,000 is a lot of money….someone will rat them out.

      For the Mexican gray wolf, For the wild ones,

      • I do hope authority’s catch the responsible individual/s. I also hope they nail their hide to a wall. But sadly it does not change the extreme disadvantage these wolves are up against. This was a strategic killing! They targeted a breeding male! WTF!

      • I hope they catch them too Marc. Fifty thousand is a lot of money. I hope enough someone will rat them out. Absolutely, someone is targeting the alpha males…three gone, two dead one missing.


  3. That is horrible news. If it wasn’t for all of the poaching, these wolf might have been almost recovered by now. The punishment for killing a Mexican Wolf is a year in jail, isn’t it? I think they should make it a life-sentence instead.

    • Katie….I can’t believe three wolves are gone. Well two wolves dead and one missing since April. I don’t think he’s coming back. The area is so large, 6 million acres counting the Apache reservation….that’s three Yellowstones. You could do almost anything on something so huge. How do they even patrol that area? The wolves are hanging on by a toe nail. And to think five new Mexican gray wolf pups were born at the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis. What will there future be?


  4. Very sad news to hear on a weekend that represents the human population of this country’s right to freedom and independence.

    • Truly a tragedy Nancy.


  5. Wild life isn’t free,they are in one big game preserve.Any way,I wish everyone a nice and safe holiday.

    • Well said Rita. They are at the mercy of their enemies.
      A safe holiday to you as well.


  6. OMG….it was horrible enough to hear about even one being shot, now I see this? It is so necessary for them to be out in the wild, but then this tragedy happens. I have such profound sadness over it! I pray they catch those responsible! Though that will not bring these beautiful and highly endangered creatures back….my heart is heavy!

    • It’s daily bad news with little victories in between Tracy. It gets worse and worse.


  7. The Mexican wolves had a considerable amount of intolerance from the locals, and current media from groups such as ‘Wolf Crossing’ have not helped them, they know these people have guns in their hands and they practically say “Pull the trigger – be a hero!”. While I’d like to place partial blame onto these types, that would not be fair. I wonder what the excuse would be if and when the people responsible are caught?
    “I was defending myself!”
    “I thought it was a coyote!”
    And yes these are two real examples of poacher excuses for killing wolves in the past. The first I can put a name to, is from a man named Timothy Sundels, local of Idaho, who shot the Twin Peaks alpha male and quoted that line the second time he was taken in by the authorities two weeks after they brought him in on suspicion of poaching when the body was exhumed. His internet bragging, riling of environmentalists and personal anti-wolf website put the noose around his neck, so to speak. This man was also arrested for poisoning a number of dogs trying to kill wolves in his local area. Do the anti-wolf people care? No. They want wolves dead at any cost, pets are sacrificed and human safety is put on the line because of their misguided hatred.

    • They always have some excuse about why they killed a wolf..but you stated it very well John. Personally I think it’s the way you’re raised, if your parents bring you up to hunt and kill wildlife, how do you overcome that? How do you ever grow up to respect and love wildlife? It’s a terrible cycle that repeats itself over and over.


  8. Great solution!!!!

  9. hi but where these wolves a rare breed of wolf to just kill them thats horrable

    • Hi Steven,
      It’s awful what wolves are having to endure but there are many, many people that care, like you. I have hope things will change for them if enough people speak out.

      For the beleagered Wyoming wolves, For the wild ones,

  10. I just read this news about the Alpha Males and am horrified. Where has the consciousness of humanity gone? Or did it ever exist? I am as concerned about my children’s future as I am the future of the Mexican Gray Wolves. Humans in harmony with the web of life are an endangered species. Godspeed to the Alpha Females raising their pups alone.

    • Hi Mtn Mama,
      I was shocked when I first heard the news. To lose three alpha males when the population is so critically endangered. The San Mateo and Paradise packs each have only one adult left, the alpha females and however many pups they have. I’m not sure how many adults are left in the Hawks Nest pack but the entire situatiion is unreal. They just haven’t gotten serious about poaching and it seems like this was an organized move. They haven’t said what caused the San Mateo packs alpha males death but it’s been referred to the USFWS law enforcement…so that should tell us what we need to know.

      For the Montana wolves, For the wild ones,

  11. Nabeki, these poachers need to face much tougher fines and sentences. Montana decided on the 186 quota for the next wolf hunt season if it happens. I hope Molloy rules fast and restores protection to wolves.

    • Jon,
      You are completely right about the poachers. They need to be thrown in jail for years.

      As for the quotas…I am working on a post tonight. I hope Judge Molloy doesn’t wait too long to issue his ruling…the hunt is fast approaching.


      • I wonder why Montana decided on the 186 quota Nabeki. I know for a fact that a good deal of hunters from there wanted the 220. Maybe Montana is playing it safe, but they admitted they want 150 wolves in Montana. There are about 525 wolves now. You do the math. They want to kill hundreds and hundreds of wolves just so they can have a min wolf population of 150 wolves and to please hunters and ranchers. These hunters and ranchers complaining that they don’t want wolves in their states should just shut it. The elk do not belong to them and when you hear them talking about saving deer and elk, they are talking about saving them from wolves so they themselves can kill them. They are hypocrites and they fault wolves for killing to survive. 525 wolves in a place like Montana is too many. That’s what they say. It’s just a bunch of nonsense. They hate the fact that wolves are more efficient predators than them.

      • Jon..I am so tired of all the wolf killing. It just goes on and on. First of all Montana FWP just decided to jump to 186 and scrap the 75 number. I knew they would show their true colors once the first hunt was over. Even though they didn’t go for 220 the 186 number scares me because there are only 520 wolves in the state and probably a lot fewer since WS has been killing entire packs. Between WS and the hunts we could be looking at just 150 or 200 wolves by the end of the year. Of course they are counting on puppies raising those numbers but they are taking out alphas, so who knows how many wolves there will be to even breed next year. AND the worst part is, are we now just going to kill off 50% or more of the wolf population every year? This is madness.

        I agree with you they are absolutely hypocrites, like they actually care about deer and elk. They don’t care about them at all they just see wolves as their competition. And yes wolves are better hunters then they’ll ever be and they don’t need high powered rifles with scopes either.


  12. I was born and raised just an hour from the Hawks Nest pack’s territory. I even remember one trying to come into our camp, and it was the most beautiful creature i have ever seen, and later that night i got to listen to it howl in the field near our camp. I remember when they released the wolves and I have been a big supporter of the wolf packs ever since. I am heartbroken to hear that there wolves were killed. In the Hawks Nest pack there are only two females, the alpha and a yearling, to take care of seven pups. I pray that every single one of them makes it and I wish there was something I could do to help them out. There is a special place reserved for anyone who would kill any creature like this. I’m not sure how much I will be able to do, but I will contact as many as I can to find out what I need to do to bring the low life’s who did in. I believe its the same people involved with the Arizona wolves, the New Mexico wolf, and the big horn sheep found dead in the same fashion in Northern Arizona.

    • Thank you for sharing Harley. The loss of the two male wolves from the Hawks Nest Pack must be particularly painful for you. I hope USFWS is feeding the pups and the two remaining pack members. I know that I read they were feeding the San Mateo and Paradise packs as well. Now they need to clamp down hard on the poachers, throw them in jail for a loooooooooooooooooooooooong time. That is the only thing that will discourage them from shooting wolves, if there are consequences!!

      For the Mexican gray wolves, For the wild ones,

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