According to a memo that was recently released by the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service,the U.S. federal government killed the alpha male of the Saffel pack of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona for preying on livestock.
The Saffel pack alpha male is the21st endangered Mexican gray wolf to be killed by the U.S. government since the animals’ reintroduction to the Southwest began in 1998, and the fifth to be killed by federal employees in 2020 thus far. In March, the U.S. government killed another wolf father, one of his pups, and two other pups from another pack, all in New Mexico.
The slain wolf, a father of four young pups, had previously suffered an emergency leg amputation in November after being caught in a government trap. The wolf’s two-year-old daughter died in January because of causes still unknown. A month later, the alpha male left his pack.
“This wolf father’s horribly unfair fate offers us a peek at the broader tragedy of heavy-handed wolf management,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “After his injury, he had to hunt alone on three legs, so he turned to livestock. He was too smart to be caught in a trap again, but he couldn’t outrun his radio collar and an aerial sniper.”
From the start of reintroduction, 25 Mexican gray wolves have been killed inadvertently at the hands of the U.S. government. Eight more wolves were also placed in captivity in April and May without injury. Two newborn pups that were removed from their Arizona den and placed with captive wolves in April were later killed by their new pack, that also killed two of their own pups — as revealed by the Fish and Wildlife Service this week.
In 2018, a U.S. District Court in Arizona found that the Service committed an “egregious oversight” in ignoring scientists’ warnings that its 2015 management rule would worsen inbreeding in the wolf population. The Service has until May 17, 2021, to rewrite the rule in the wake of tens of thousands of public comments received by its recent June 15th deadline. The Service will issue a draft rule and an environmental impact statement in the fall and accept public comments again.
“The clock is ticking on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s court-ordered rewrite of its wolf-management rule,” said Robinson. “If the agency re-authorizes anything like the current heartless mismanagement, we’ll see them in court again. Mexican wolves would recover if the Service would just release them as families into the wild and then let them live with no persecution.”