Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Wild-born Mexican wolf headed to Gila Wilderness
Wild-born Mexican gray wolf No. 1154 is scheduled to be released at an approved site in the Gila Wilderness on Sunday.
The 1.5-year-old female wolf, has been captivity, awaiting release since its capture in Arizona.
Officials said the wolf has no history of livestock depredation, but was trapped because it left the boundaries of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
"This wolf is considered to be a good release candidate because it exhibits a fear of people, demonstrated by its behavior in captivity," a New Mexico Game and Fish Department released stated.
The Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will participate in the wolf's release.
Area farmers have protested the re-integration of the wolves in the Gila since it began in 2006.
The Mexican wolf historically inhabited the southwestern United States and portions of Mexico until it was virtually eliminated in the wild by private and governmental predator eradication efforts in the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s.
A 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan recommended the establishment of a captive breeding program and the reintroduction of Mexican wolves to the wild.
Both of these recommendations have been implemented, and today an international captive breeding program houses more than 300 wolves, and a wild population of approximately 52 wolves (as of the official 2007 end-of-year count) inhabits Arizona and New Mexico.