“Two Middle Fork pups in the summer of 2011” USFWS
The number of Mexican gray wolves has increased to 83. That’s up from 75 last year but the feds have much more to do, to make good on their promises to recover this critically endangered wolf.
Wolf population growing, but not enough to please advocates
PHOENIX – The number of Mexican gray wolves roaming eastern Arizona and western New Mexico increased by eight to 83 wolves in the past year, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Noting that the population has increased for four straight years, federal and state officials said in a news release that the recovery program has saved the Mexican gray wolf from extinction. However, wildlife advocates said that the effort hasn’t gone far enough to ensure the species’ genetic diversity.
“I’m happy we have seen an increase in population for four years in a row,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate for the Tucson-based Center of Biological Diversity. “What’s worrisome is the number of breeding pairs.”
A group of seven wolves was released in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in 1998, starting the reintroduction program. Since then, the U.S. Wildlife and Fish Service has been managing and keeping track of the wolf population while also introducing captive wolves into the wild.
Robinson said there isn’t enough genetic variability among the wild wolves because officials haven’t released enough captive wolves.
“The original genetic diversity has not been maximized, and this means smaller litter sizes and lower pup survival rates,” he said.
This was the situation just 3 1/2 years ago:
Mexican Gray Wolves On The Brink!
Photo: Courtesy USFWS
Posted in: Mexican Gray Wolf
Tags: Mexican gray wolf, critically endangered, inbreeding, more releases needed. expand wolves’ range, USFWS