Mexican gray wolves blamed for 28 livestock kills in 2013

On Nov. 13, Mexican gray wolf recovery personnel transferred this male from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico to the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana. Two months later this wolf and two pups briefly escaped from their pens but were quickly rounded up.

In the final month of 2013, a Mexican gray wolf was found shot to death in New Mexico. The adult male wolf had separated from the Bluestem Pack in May and wandered outside of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.

A collared wolf, an immature female, was listed as whereabouts unknown in December. She had been observed traveling with another immature female for several months, separated from their home pack, the Fox Mountain Pack in the Gila National Forest. The second female was located outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in November.

Earlier in the year, a mature female wolf was found shot to death and her pups were not found. She had been living near where she was released in the Gila Wilderness near McKenna Park. She had dispersed from her denning area a few weeks  after having pups and was shot on private land. The investigation of the shooting was conducted by Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Game and Fish and Wildlife Services. While conducting the investigation, a cow with bite marks was found and it was determined the attack occurred on private land. “After a comprehensive and thorough investigation” Fish and Wildlife ruled that the wolf was killed legally and the shooting was not in violation of the Endangered Species Act. This was the end of the Halfmoon Pack.  

Another mature female wolf died, Aug. 18, after being trapped by the reintroduction project’s Interagency Field Team. The field team had trapped her to replace her radio telemetry collar.

In September, an un-collared wolf was found dead, the cause of death was not immediately identified.

Two packs may be involved in a turf battle in New Mexico. The five collared members of the San Mateo Pack and the two collared members of the Fox Mountain Pack continued to “interact.” (In November there were eight wolves seen traveling with the Fox Mountain Pack.)

The Fox Mountain Pack was making incursions on the San Mateo’s territory, south of Quemado in November and December.

The San Mateo’s range is about 210 square miles.  

There have been some recent problems with the livestock depredation by the members of the Fox Mountain Pack. The pack was blamed for the deaths of two calves 40 miles southeast of Springerville, near Toriette, New Mexico. On Nov. 21 one of the Fox Mountain Pack members was captured and placed in captivity – the result of a permanent removal order.  The Fox Mountain Pack’s territory is about 167 square miles, southwest of Quemado to the Arizona border.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife had also issued a permanent removal order in November for a second male wolf with the Fox Mountain Pack, the status of that order was not mentioned in the December report but the adult male wolf was still listed as a member of the Fox Mountain Pack.

Since September there has a been a permanent removal order out for a an adult female wolf, the sole collared survivor of the Paradise Pack. That order has been extended to Feb. 4. If the alpha female of the Paradise Pack is captured that will be the last known member of the pack. The Paradise Pack’s home range is west of Springerville, near Vernon. The alpha female had been seen traveling with an adult male wolf that left the San Mateo Pack.

A trapper caught an un-collared wolf east of Reserve, New Mexico. The field team collared and gave the wolf an ID number. It is presumed that the wolf is a member of the Luna Pack which had five collared members before the addition of the newly collared immature male.   

The population of collared wolves (although it went up and down a little through the year) declined by one in 2013.

In its December monthly update, the field team reported that the population of Mexican wolves was 46 (with functioning radio collars) in 13 packs and five lone wolves.

At the end January the population was 46 wolves with functional radio collars in 14 packs and four single wolves.

One population peak came in April when the field team reported 49 collared wolves, 15 packs and five single wolves.

There were no livestock deaths attributed to wolves in December.

During 2013, the deaths of 46 cows were investigated as possible wolf kills. It was determined that 28 cows were killed by wolves, 10 died from unknown causes and eight others died from known causes other than wolves, including lightning strikes, one killed by a bear and one from a gunshot.

The information in this report comes from monthly summaries of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.

Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup.

The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT). To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/es/wolf_reintroduction.shtml. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Reach the reporter at outdoors@wmicentral.com

(18) comments

funnyboy

What a fantastic use of taxpayer money! [beam]

phxnative54

Headline should have read, "4 Endangered wolves slaughtered in 2013." When will cattle ranchers accept that predation -- by wolves, bears, lions, coyotes, golden eagles and DOGS -- is part of the cost of doing business? And only a fraction of all livestock losses, at that (less than 5% of all livestock mortalities). A vast majority of Americans want wolves on their public lands; when ranchers use those same public lands to graze their herds, they must accept and accommodate the will of the people.

stouthp

Earlier in the year, a mature female wolf was found shot to death and her pups were not found. She had been living near where she was released in the Gila Wilderness near McKenna Park. She had dispersed from her denning area a few weeks after having pups and was shot on private land. The investigation of the shooting was conducted by Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Game and Fish and Wildlife Services. While conducting the investigation, a cow with bite marks was found and it was determined the attack occurred on private land. “After a comprehensive and thorough investigation” Fish and Wildlife ruled that the wolf was killed legally and the shooting was not in violation of the Endangered Species Act. This was the end of the Halfmoon Pack. I am sure that the New Mexico Game and Fish Wildlife Services spent hours and maybe even days searching for a way to justify the killing of this wolf. Then they found a cow with "bite marks" to blame and justify the killing. This wolf had pups which I'm sure perished thus making the Mexican Gray Wolf even more endangered. I don't believe this for a minute. The marks on the cow could have been caused from fencing, brush or other obstacles on the land on which they were grazing. Since these ranchers want to eradicate wolves at any cost, they should no longer be allowed to graze their herds on public lands at a minimal cost. They need to purchase their land to graze their cattle at the going rate of land prices. I don't want them allowed to graze on public lands at a minimal cost of a little over $1. This is sick. And then they are allowed to shoot wolves. You are using our land to graze your cattle. We have a right to have a say in whether wolves should be killed at the will of ranchers. They must accept the will of the people as long as they are using our public lands. They are morphing the mentality of the out of control wolf murderers in the Northern states. Such a mentality is dangerous.

phxnative54

Clearly, ranchers' claims of losses due to wolves cannot be believed:
Livestock statistics don't justify wolf cull
http://www.conservationnw.org/news/pressroom/press-clips/livestock-statistics-dont-justify-wolf-cull
Cattle and Calf Death Losses
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CattDeath/CattDeath-05-12-2011.pdf
There is NO rational justification for shooting or trapping wolves -- legally or illegally -- based upon supposed predation. Irrational fear and superstition are not acceptable reasons for the taking of wolves.

billb723

There has been a lot of talk about cows grazing on public land, and some want them off their land.
This will not happen because of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, rancher have the right to graze public land.
If you think you can just end this law because you want cows off public land then I guess ranchers can end the Endangered Species Act because they want wolves off public land.
I think the ESA is in trouble and may by be changed by congress, because of all the law suits over the wolves.

phxnative54

@billb723: Agreed, cows aren't coming off public lands anytime soon. Yes, ranchers have the right to graze public land, by law. But they also have the responsibility to practice good herd management and good stewardship of the land. That means removing carcassas ASAP to prevent opportunistic predators from adapting to livestock. It means moving their herds around and breaking up clusters to prevent overgrazing and destruction of habitat and riparian areas. It means not grazing heavily burned areas so that they can recover more quickly. And it means accepting some losses due to predators, and not expecting the government to provide a predator-free environment (or taking it upon themselves to do so). And it means NOT taking wolves illegally.

Starman

It is unfortunate that we put so much importance on protecting a few cattle that we are willing to push an endangered piece of our natural heritage to the brink of extinction. This is done purely for the supposed benefit of a few individuals, and yet we all lose in the process. Now I am not saying that the cattle, which undoubtedly were ultimately headed for slaughter, should not be protected, but is it right to kill off part of wild America so a few folks can have their steak dinners? I am sorry for New Mexico and Arizona and any other states where we are willing to kill wild animals so we can grow a few more domestic animals also to kill. I am sorry for America. There is something drastically wrong when this happens.

It is also sad that the headline emphasizes the loss of a few cattle over the loss of our natural heritage. I know that the particular ranchers involved feel that the wolves are eating into their livelihood, but killing the wolves hurts us all. It is a true shame.

teddyearp

Wow, really? Do any of you take into consideration that cattle and livestock are not the only things wolves will prey upon? How would you like to be living in Vernon and see the Paradise Pack wonder through your yard, hunting for something to eat? Maybe your dog, cat, or even your child.

But I doubt any of you folks actually live on the mountain, do you?

phxnative54

@teddyearp: Yep, I sure do live in the mountains. Have had wolf/wolves out on the back deck at least once. A bear, too. Lion stalked my youngest daughter one afternoon a few years ago. Watched coyotes hunting voles in the snow 40 yards from the house. Have awakened to a herd of elk surrounding the house. I absolutely love that those critters are there, and live accordingly; stay together when we walk & hike, carry a pistol, keep dogs on leash and don't let cats run around loose, secure trash receptacles, and so on.

Treehugger64

Headline "Mexican gray wolves blamed for 28 livestock kills in 2013" - hm... the operative term here seems to be "blamed for". Not every dead animal showing "wolf bite marks" really was KILLED by wolves. They are predators AND scavengers, never refusing a free meal - that's why baiting and trapping works so well to slaughter them. Plus, you can't blame predators for getting used to cows and sheep if they get TRAINED to see them as convenient prey by ranchers not removing dead or caring for sick or injured animals. Of course, livestock breeders and dedicated hunters ALWAYS want to get rid of predators - that's why and how we wrecked the Central European ecosystem. NOW, of course, those same predators we mostly wiped out are protected by law - just like the critically endangered Mexican Grey Wolf, at least theoretically, is protected. "Theoretically" because this protection obviously does NOT prevent people from killing wolves, disrupting and destroying packs and endangering the survival and recovery of the sub-species, mostly NOT because of real damage done by those animals, but out of sheer hysteria, fueled by panicmongering, old fairy tales and outright lies. Yes, wolves occasionally kill livestock - usually if this livestock is grazing somewhere way out without proper protection. No, wolves do NOT eat little children, not even those wearing red. Yes, wolves are known to sometimes kill dogs - usually those intruding in their territory. No, wolves are NOT known for roaming backyards to kill pets. They tend to avoid human settlements and inhabited houses. You know, there ARE wolf packs in Germany, Central Europe, pretty densly populated - but hardly anybody ever sees any of those wolves... DESPITE the fact that Germany by now has MORE wolves than there are Mexican Grey Wolves in the wild. They might get curious and check you out, from a safe distance, if you invade their home - but they will NOT return the visit, dropping in for a coffee and a cat. The MAIN problem with wolf recovery are NOT the wolves - it's the FEAR of the big, bad wolf, firmly based on old wive's tales, Hollywood horror stories and rural myths and rumors, carefully avoiding facts, reality and common sense.

Darch1

Wolves are useless and unnecessary. They were removed for good cause, and the reintroduction of them is a costly attempt to further crowd people into population hubs by creating stress on those living in rural areas. Individuals on this forum want to present their viewpoints as fact and decry opposition as lies, but I do not concur that the "majority" insist that livestock and livelihood die so that wild predators, including wolves, dominate. That is a false and deceitful assertion. You can shout loudly, but your premise is as false as it is destructive.

Ranch Facts



stouthp posted at 12:16 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

So you don't like it that a Mexican wolf caught in the act of attacking livestock left and killed her pups weeks prior to come onto deeded land only to be caught in broad daylight and shot for the attack before she could kill anything. Because that is what happened. Even though the FWS leaked the information to Defenders of Wildlife who then put out a false and completely misleading press release to the public about the pups being killed by the rancher and another illegal kill blah blah blah. It was completely legal on deeded land reported by the person who killed the wolf.
Using USDA data from national statistics is also incredibly disingenuous if not a complete lie to the public, using the entire national statistics to report total livestock deaths in one small region sure isn't showing the actual damage to small local economies much less the significant burden individuals suffer for this animal. For as few Mexican wolves as there are on the ground to have this many Confirmed livestock deaths attributed to them and proven is amazing.

Yes the Taylor Grazing act gives ranchers the right to graze this land, but other congressional acts give them even more rights to be on the land. Most of these ranches were in place long before there was a federal government intervening in their lives. Federal land is for multiple use to stabilize the economies of small local communities not just conservation there are parks for that. Private property is still private property and ranching is one of the only stable job creating industries in the west that is left. So grow up and stop the fabrication wolf worshipers. Nobody is going anywhere.

Ranch Facts

What a bunch of propagandists, of course animals that show wolf bite marks are confirmed wolf depredations, there are investigations that prove it. Example and this occurs a whole lot, if the calf just disappeares and there is a puddle of blood and wolf pack sitting there with calf breath and a mamma cow bawling nearby, it is NOT confirmed. Those deaths cited in this article are confirmed kills. Many of the ones not confirmed are also wolf kills only the evidence was eaten away. These investigations are conducted by trained personel the term blame is the reporters term not the agency's.
Scientific methods NOT employed by the agency but still the most valid method of determining private losses of livestock attributed to wolves also clearly show at least 8 times more depredation actually takes place than the FWS choose to confirm. Meaning those ranchers so many of you hate so much are just almost singlehandedly keeping your wolves fed. I wonder how they would do without ranchers on the land. One thing for sure breeding would go way down. Show some respect. At least don't just spew your cherry picked viewpoint rather than the actual facts.

Cattle1

Wolves are just one of many tools the federal government is using to push people into population hubs . If it was not for Ranchers raising these cattle for our meat .Where do you so called environmentalist think your meat come from ? I would rather see a heard of cattle out grazing then wildfire or more homes . Wolfs have NO place in 21 first century.

dmcc

Why should ranchers accept cattle losses due to wolves? Would any other business accept an "introduced" loss that wasn't present earlier? Yes, some areas had wolves, but a very long time ago. Most of the folks who are pro-wolf don't live in these areas. People who live in wolf areas and aren't ranchers will tell you stories of their dogs and cats, etc being killed, not to mention the fear for human life. This smacks of the familiar call of easterners or city folks to preserve what they have destroyed to make their cities and homes. Wolves have no business near livestock or humans, that isn't even a natural environment for them. Put them in that, the government has certainly made enough livestock free, primitive areas to support them. Then, the folks wanting to preserve them can go there, on foot, to observe them.

DonBFooled

The wolf huggers seem to think it's cool to fund the true costs of wolf recovery on the backs of a few unfortunate individuals. If the government found some lofty purpose and began allowing thugs to go through suburban neighborhoods and randomly slash tires, break windows and beat your pets mercilessly with a steel tined rake in front of your small children, and do it with immunity, and the government threatens you with a huge fine and a jail sentence if you try to stop them, and not compensate you for your vet bills or other losses, you would not think it was such a great program. But wolf-huggers want us to believe all ranchers somehow deserve to be treated exactly that way just for living. They don't think twice about biting the hand that feeds them.

DonBFooled

Here's an idea...What if there was a law that for every dollar of damage that wolves cause a rancher, that rancher could deduct that cost from a randomly selected wolf advocate's bank account, and for every rancher's dog or cat that got killed by wolves, a randomly selected wolf advocate's household pet would be euthanized (although that's much more merciful than what happened to the rancher's pet) . Wouldn't that put all sides of the controversy on a more equal footing?

phxnative54

@DonBFooled: ALL predators combined cause about 5% of cattle deaths (respiratory and digestive ailments cause over 40%; weather and calving problems cause another 26%). Of predator-related deaths, the #1 predator is coyotes at 53%. DOMESTIC DOGS take nearly 3 TIMES as many cattle (9.9%) as wolves (3.7%). Heck, even vultures take more cattle than wolves (5.4%)!!!

So why all the hateful vitriol and hysteria against wolves in particular? It's just irrational. By your arguments, we should be shooting, trapping and poisoning all the Fifis and Fidos out there, too. After all, they take more cattle than wolves. And 31 PEOPLE were killed by domestic dogs in 2013 ... how many were killed by wolves? (Hint: ZERO)

Sources:
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CattDeath/CattDeath-05-12-2011.pdf
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/beefcowcalf/downloads/beef0708/Beef0708_is_Mortality.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States

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