Mary Katherine Ray,
Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Wildlife Chair
The wild needs more wolves!
You have probably seen that the end-of-year count for Mexican wolves has declined for the first time in several years. Managers found only 97 wolves this year, compared with 113 last year.
More wolves need to be released into the wild – and soon – to give our lobos a boost.
Over time, the population of lobos, which is now completely wild-born, has become more inbred. The captive population has a greater genetic diversity than the wild one. To rescue the lobo population and improve the wild gene pool, more releases into the wild are needed this year! Every year that passes without this genetic influx will push wild wolves ever closer to extinction. We can’t let that happen, especially when the answer is waiting only for the will to act.
The New Mexico Game Commission appointed by Gov. Martinez has significantly attempted to obstruct wolf recovery. Last month the commission did approve allowing the Ladder Ranch to house wolves intended for release in Mexico, where there are only 25 lobos in the wild.
But in order to recover this species, Mexican wolves must roam wild in the United States. Wolves were here long before humans set the arbitrary boundaries between nations. While the Game Commission has denied permits to import Mexican wolves for release here, Interior Secretary Jewell has given the go-ahead under the mandate of the National Endangered Species Act that releases can take place in the U.S.