Mexican Wolf #1693 Killed In NM
Mexican Wolf #1693, named Grenville by the folks working at the Endangered Wolf Center where he was born, has been found dead in New Mexico, according to The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. His killing is a direct violation of the Endangered Species Act though the details are still developing as the incident is under active law enforcement investigation. This story was first reported by Greta Anderson at Western Watersheds Project.
Mexican Wolf #1693 Cross Fostered
Mexican Wolf #1693 had been in the wild since 2018 when he was released as a 15-day-old pup through a process called “cross fostering,” where a pup born in captivity, at a place like the Wolf Conservation Center facility, but then is inserted into a wild den. The WCC has actually participated in this process before too, including the Mexican Gray wolf Hope who was released in 2019 as part of WCC’s participation in the federal Species Survival Plan (SSP) recovery programs for the Mexican gray wolf, one of the rarest mammals in North America.
Relocation of Seco Creek Pack
Unfortunately for #1693, after he and his mate were relocated from the Rainy Mesa area near Reserve, New Mexico to Ladder Ranch, which is next to the Gila National Forest, a handful of ranchers pushed back, suing The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ranchers lost the case in 2021, but during the spring of 2022, several elected officials asked the Service permission to kill the wolves based on the deaths of four livestock, though it’s unclear whether the wolves were to blame. At the time, Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC was quoted saying: “It’s critical that wolves like the breeding male in this pack be left alone and in the wild,” said Howell. “He was placed in the wild as a puppy in order to improve the genetic health of the whole population. Unless he’s permitted to raise his pups to maturity, that cross-fostering effort will be wasted.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
It’s still unclear who is responsible for Mexican Wolf #1693’s killing, but it’s clear that there was some animosity for the wolves from the moment they arrived in the area. The silver lining in this situation is that #1693 was able to father two litters of pups during his time in New Mexico, and a lot of credit is due to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for that. It’s important to note just how hard the Service worked to keep this wolf wild, getting him out of Rainy Mesa on a translocation instead of a removal, getting him onto the Ladder Ranch facility for a safe haven for the first year’s pups, defending their decision against the Sierra County lawsuit, and keeping him wild despite calls for his removal (again) this past spring.
Hope For The Future
Cross-fostering can only be considered successful for genetic infusions into the wild population if cross-fostered animals survive and reproduce in the wild, and for their puppies to then have a broader influence on the entire population. This pack’s story is still being written, and it’s tragic that Wolf #1693’s life was cut short before he could bring even more genetic diversity to the region, but hope lies in the future of the Seco Pack and other wolves as they attempt to claw their way back from endangerment and find their foothold beside a civilization that still has much to learn about cohabitating with these majestic creatures.
A reward of up to $50,000 is available for information leading to the conviction of the killer(s) of Mexican wolves.