Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Found Dead – At Least 18 Mortalities in 2018
January 14, 2019 — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) announced in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update that a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf – yearling m1661 of the Saffel Pack – was found dead in Arizona in December 2018. “The incident is under investigation.”
The status of the Mexican gray wolf population in New Mexico is unknown, according to the update from AZGFD, “December mortality data for New Mexico was not available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at the time this report was prepared due to the federal shutdown.”
Last month, wildlife officials announced that five critically endangered Mexican gray wolves were found dead in November. The deceased wolves were all located in New Mexico. All of these incidents were under investigation by USFWS Law Enforcement before the federal shutdown.
The death of wolf m1661 brings the total of documented wolf mortalities in 2018 to at least 18.
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 January of 2018, the wild Mexican gray wolf population in the U.S. was estimated to be 114 individuals.