Fourteen critically endangered Mexican gray wolves were found dead in 2016. That’s over 10% of the wild population and marks the most deaths in any single year since the federal government began reintroducing the keystone species into the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona in 1998.
While many of the cases remain under investigation, federal officials have acknowledged that illegal killings remain a big problem.
Although only 97 remain in the wild at last count, last year legislation was introduced calling to remove federal protections for the rare wolves. It’s not easy being a wild wolf – they’re faced with many natural challenges. It is shameful, however, that politics should be their most serious threat.