Wild Mexican Wolf Numbers Increase to 75
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) delivered some encouraging news on the lobo front! During its annual year-end surveys, the Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team counted at least 75 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2012. This number demonstrates a significant increase in the known population in the wild. The 2011 count was 58.
Benjamin Tuggle, the USFWS’s Southwest Regional Director, credits the increase to their implementation of a “…number of management actions – in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders – that have helped reduce conflicts related to recovering a sustainable population of wolves on a working landscape.” In 2013, USFWS plans to “increase the genetic viability of the wild population, and implement management activities that support more wolves in the wild.” Tuggle also stated that “releases are one of the important tools we use for improving the genetic viability of the wild population,” a strategy that bodes well for a special faction of captive Mexican wolves that are candidates for release into the wild. Let’s hope that 2013’s end of year count continues this upward trend!