25 July 2014
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Six Mexican Gray Wolves Released in New Mexico: In some good news for lobos, this week the Service released six Mexican gray wolves into the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. These six new wolves will bring some needed genetic diversity to the small wild population in the Southwest. Defenders continues to advocate that in order for endangered Mexican gray wolves to recover, the Service must continue to release more wolves from captivity, establish additional populations of wolves and develop and implement a recovery plan for the species. We’re glad to see the Service take a step to help save these wolves even as the agency considers a policy that would impede the wolves’ recovery.
How Do People Form Their Opinions About Wolves? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin set out to find the answer. The researchers surveyed over 700 Wisconsin residents to understand how residents develop tolerance for wolves, and learn more about the role hunting plays in forming those attitudes. The researchers thought that if wolves were listed as a game species, this might increase tolerance for wolves by giving residents a degree of control over wolves in state. Surprisingly, this study finds the exact opposite is true. Instead of building social tolerance for wolves, hunting increases intolerance among Wisconsin residents for wolves. When wolves are listed as a game species like elk and deer, Wisconsin residents become less interested in coexisting with wolves across the state. This survey suggests that wildlife managers should carefully consider all implications before legalizing wolf hunting in any state, as listing wolves as a game species could dramatically undermine public support for wolf conservation.