Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up by @Defenders of Wildlife

A Congressional attack on Mexican gray wolf recovery
Mexican gray wolf, © Jim Clark/USFWS 
As you may remember, last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to complete a full recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, by November 2017. Congress wasted no time in attacking such an important step in Mexican gray wolf recovery. Last Friday, Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) and John McCain (R-Ariz) introduced “The Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act of 2016.” Don’t let the name fool you. While our experts are still analyzing the bill, it’s already safe to say that this is an egregious attack on Mexican gray wolf recovery that puts the states first, the Service second and the lobos last. The lobos are facing dwindling numbers, smaller litters and lower pup survival – a recipe for extinction. Defenders will be taking action next week when Congress is back in session. Keep an eye out for an email from us asking you to take action on this bill soon!

Mexican gray wolf pup, © USFWS

New lobos in the New Mexico
Last week, two Mexican gray wolf pups were introduced into the New Mexican wild. These wolves were the result of cross-fostering, an experimental technique where pups born in captivity are placed into the dens of wild wolf mothers. Although cross-fostering is intended to move genes from the captive to the wild population, which the lobos need so desperately as they face an intense genetic diversity crisis, it is very difficult to pull off. A wild den with pups must be found, the captive and wild litters must be born within five days of one another and the captive pups must be moved within about ten days of birth. Given these logistical hurdles, scientists caution that cross-fostering is unlikely to address the problem of species recovery. As our Southwest Director Bryan Bird said in this article, “Unfortunately, the cross-fostering is not going to be enough to save the wolves in the wild. [The Service] needs to introduce adult wolves.”