Courtney Sexton, Communications Associate
When I got word on Thursday that one of the few Mexican gray wolves left in the wild had been shot and killed, my heart sank. The victim, an alpha female known as F1108 was a breeding female that had been released with her mate from the captive breeding program in May. The pair was a beacon of hope for the small population that is in dire need of greater numbers and more genetic diversity. Though the male wandered off and was recaptured shortly after release (another pairing in captivity would be attempted), the possibility of this release being “successful” remained as the female was pregnant with pups.
With this latest shooting, however, new hope for recovering the lobos has dwindled once again – with one swift and deliberate shot of a gun, not only has one of the few breeding females been lost, but her pups are also assumed to be dead, as she was found far from her den.
Unfortunately, the only lesson to be learned from this tragedy is one that we already know – the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to complete and implement a Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, continue to release more wolves and strictly enforce laws protecting the wolves from shootings such as this one. Without releasing more wolves from captivity the Service gives them no chance to recover. The wolves need to be able to disperse into suitable habitat throughout the Southwest, without the threat of human-imposed mortality. With minimal numbers and limited diversity, the Mexican gray wolves don’t need another unnecessary obstacle barring their way to recovery.