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Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Found Dead – Eleven Known Mortalities in 2019

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) announced in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update that a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf – an uncollared wolf – was found dead in New Mexico last month. The incident is under investigation.  

There have been a total of eleven documented wolf mortalities from January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019.

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%.

At last count, the wild Mexican gray wolf population in the U.S. was estimated to be 131 individuals.

AZGFD’s report also included information about two trapping incidents, including one, which was unconfirmed by the IFT (Interagency Field Team) prior to the update’s publication, involving a wolf pup running around with a trap on their leg in the Gila National Forest.

“In November, the Prieto Pack was located within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. In November, a member of the public reported capturing two wolves in foothold traps,” AZGFD wrote. “The IFT responded immediately, processed, collared and temporarily removed from the wild mp1845 for veterinary care. The IFT determined a second wolf had been captured and was traveling with a trap still attached to its foot. At the time of this publication, the IFT has documented the second wolf is traveling with the pack and the trap is no longer attached to its foot. This incident remains under investigation.”

Recreational and commercial trapping is legal on nearly all public lands in New Mexico. A total of 39 Mexican wolves have been caught, injured, maimed, or killed by traps since the recovery program began in 1998.

A map of New Mexico’s trapping accidents is available online.