Mexican Gray Wolf Expert: 75 Wolves Not Enough

Oct 31, 2013

At last count, 75 Mexican gray wolves roam wild in the southwest.

“It’s not nearly enough.”

Kevin Bixby is with the Southwest Environmental Center.

“It’s only a single population…subject to calamities that can befall single populations…”

Like diseases that could kill a genetically similar wolves.

The animals are on the endangered species list -- protected by federal law.

States have the option to cooperate or not. According to Bixby, New Mexico needs to step up its game.

“They’re definitely not supporters of the program…it’s more like ‘we better keep an eye on these guys.”

The 75 wolves live in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area at the New Mexico - Arizona border. They need a wide area to hunt their main prey – elk.

Trying to fit some of the animals that used to live in Las Cruces would be pretty hard to fit on main street…expanding that area would mean a healthier wolf population.

Bixby wants to see the area expanded to stretch from Mexico to the northern border of New Mexico and Arizona…. And he wants the number of wolves increased.

“Wolf experts believe that to recover the species, at least two additional populations need to be established…total population of at least 750 wolves.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southwest Area, has this to say about the recovery area.

They said “no wolves were translocated or released from captivity to the wild.”

…But that 19 wolf pups in five packs were recently born in the wild.

They also say they are “continuing discussions with Mexico to determine effective avenues for bi-national collaboration” on the Mexican wolf recovery effort.”

Bixby doesn’t think everything the Fish and Wildlife Service is doing is wrong.

“What the Fish and Wildlife Service is doing right is they are implementing the federal endangered species act.”

As long as the Mexican gray wolf is on that list, federal law legally protects them, no matter how many roam the desert.