Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mexican wolves may be killed for killing cattle


Five endangered Mexican gray wolves may be permanently removed from the wild in Eastern Arizona or shot because they have killed so many cattle. The White Mountain Apache Tribal Council has requested that the pack be removed. The animals have been directly involved in six cattle killings, four probable depredations and one cattle injury on tribal land in the past year.

"At this point in the game, we're not pursuing the lethal option, but it could come to that shortly," said John Morgart, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mexican wolf recovery coordinator.

A field team captured two of the pack's male yearlings last month and moved them to a ranch in southern New Mexico. One was found dead in its pen five days after arriving. Morgart said the animal likely died of stress, but tests would be done. The team's focus now is on trying to capture the alpha female and her new pups. She has eluded traps twice. The alpha male and a yearling are also still in the wild. The alpha male is the only one of the pack wearing a radio collar, Morgart said.

Another pair of wolves known as the Nantac Pack is doing well after being released in southwestern New Mexico in April. Morgart said they chewed through a temporary pen within days and are eating natural prey.

  • Arizona Daily Star