Mexican Wolf A Rural Viewpoint
for release May 24, 2006
Contacts: Victoria Fox, 505-248-6455 or Elizabeth Slown, 505-248-6909
Eight Mexican Wolves Die Following Recapture After Cattle Depredations
The U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service announced today that eight members of a pack of reintroduced Mexican
wolves found to be responsible for a series of cattle depredations in
made the determination to recapture all members of the Hon Dah pack on the Fort Apache
Indian Reservation last month after the White Mountain Apache tribe requested their
removal in the wake of seven confirmed and four probable livestock depredations on tribal
The loss of these wolves is a blow to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and everyone who is working to recover wolves in the Southwest. We are currently reviewing our capture practices, animal handling and pup placement procedures to determine whether these deaths could have been prevented, and to ensure that any necessary measures are taken to reduce the chance of this happening again, said Benjamin Tuggle, acting Regional Director for the Services Southwest Region.
The Hon Dah pack numbered two
adults, three yearlings and seven pups. In a series of unprecedented events, an adult
female, a male yearling and six wolf pups died following capture. A male yearling was
successfully captured and transported to the wolf facility at Ladder Ranch in
Six of the seven four-week old pups were captured on Friday, May 19, examined by a veterinarian and then transported to the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge Mexican Wolf Facility. The pups were placed with a surrogate pair of wolves with two pups in the hope that the pair would care for the captured pups. Although the male from this pair had been successfully used as a surrogate in the past, in this instance the male killed the six captured pups in an instinctive effort to protect his own two pups.
The packs alpha female was captured late Sunday, May 21 and sustained a minor injury to her foot. She was then transported to the Alpine Arizona Mexican Wolf Field Office where she was carefully monitored throughout the night. She appeared to be alert and healthy; however, she was found dead early Monday morning prior to a veterinary examination and transport to Sevilleta. Necropsies will be performed on the first captured yearling and on the alpha female to determine cause of death.
Following the removal operations, only two of the Hon Dah Pack wolves currently remain free the alpha male and a yearling of unknown gender. The Mexican Wolf Field Team is working to remove those remaining wolves.
The Service estimates that there
are currently 32 to 46 Mexican wolves, not including pups, in the wild in portions of
- http://www.southwest.fws.gov -