Wildlife officials announced in their Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update that five critically endangered Mexican gray wolves were found dead in November, bringing the total of documented wolf mortalities so far this year to 17.
The deceased wolves, all located in New Mexico, include AM1447 of the Frieborn Pack, fp1826 of the Prieto Pack, AM1038 of the Hawks Nest Pack, m1680 of the Saffel Pack, and Single M1486.
All of the incidents are currently under investigation by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Law Enforcement.
While their deaths alone are devastating, the implications could be far-ranging. A recent study found that USFWS officials who manage the Mexican wolf recovery program are underestimating the rate of poaching by up to 21%.
Between 1998 and 2015, there were 155 deaths and disappearances in New Mexico and Arizona of radio-collared Mexican wolves. Of these wolves, 53 had “unknown fates.”
At last count in the U.S., just 114 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild.