Restoring the Mexican wolf population in Mexico and US

The Mexican Wolf has survived thanks to the efforts of both the Mexican and American governments but is still endangered

Photo: Featured photography
English 08/07/2017 11:57 Newsroom and AP Actualizada 11:57

The Mexican Wolf is the smallest subspecies in North America and unfortunately is endangered due to indiscriminate hunting, the loss of its natural habitat and, mainly, its systematic extermination.

After repeated failures over decades, US wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to complete the plan for the Mexican gray wolf by the end of November.

The draft document calls for focusing recovery of the wolves in core areas of the predators' historic range. That means south of Interstate 40 in the two states and in Mexico. The document also addresses threats, such as genetic diversity.

"At the time of recovery, the service expects Mexican wolf populations to be stable or increasing in abundance, well-distributed geographically within their historical range, and genetically diverse," the agency said in a statement.

Fish and Wildlife has suggested that a population of at least 325 Mexican gray wolves would have to survive in the wild over a period of several years before the species can be considered recovered. That's nearly three times the number of wolves currently in New Mexico and Arizona.

Environmentalists have pushed for years for more captive wolves to be released, but ranchers and elected leaders in rural communities have pushed back because the predators sometimes attack domestic livestock and wild game.

There are now more of the wolves roaming the Southwest than at any time since the US federal government began trying to reintroduce the animals nearly two decades ago. The most recent annual survey shows at least 113 wolves spread between southwestern New Mexico and southeast Arizona.

"The states and federal government will eventually figure out they're going to need to kill fewer wolves and introduce more genetically valuable wolves if the population is going to grow," said Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity.

For Mexico's part and as a result of the efforts to preserve this species, Los Coyotes Zoo in Mexico City announced the birth of seven cubs, two males and five females, making it the largest litter recorded in the capital.

The Ministry of Environment (SEDEMA) reported that the wolves were born between April 21 and 23, and is the second time that this site contributes with new specimens in the Binational Program in which Mexico participates with the United States to rescue this species.

Although the cubs were born in April, it was not until after May 15 that it was possible to observe them, when they began to explore their surroundings.

Both wolves have kept an eye on their cubs and give them the necessary care for their development. In addition, the veterinary medical team is alert to attend any eventuality that could arise.

The Mexican gray wolf has survived thanks to the efforts of both Mexican and American zoos, integrated into a Binational Recovery Program.