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Promising Numbers: The latest survey shows that there were 114 wolves in New Mexico and 72 in Arizona, a 14% increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, in 2019, the wolf population increased by almost 25%.
Brady McGee, the Mexican wolf recovery coordinator at the Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Guardian that about half of the 124 pups that were born in 2020 survived, standard for the average survival rate for Mexican wolf pups.
Why This Matters: Bringing Mexican wolves to the wild southwest has been a success in conservation. That said, this victory has been hard-won. Because wolves are predators, many opposed reintroducing them to the southwest’s ecosystems.
In May 2016, Caren Cowan executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, summed up the prevailing attitude in an interview with the Guardian: “It threatens families, it threatens their pets, it threatens their private property. The federal government is turning out a predator to steal private property with no compensation.”
Because of these concerns, the wolf population had been depleted by poaching, and caused disruptions to their habitats, like explosions in the elk population. In the 1970s, the Mexican wolf was almost totally extinct.
The US created a captive breeding program, rearing about 350 Mexican wolves in more than 55 zoos and other facilities across the US and Mexico, and introduced them in the wild. The relative success of this program has engendered some hope: Brian McGee said in a statement: “We are thrilled to see this number continuing to rise.”
Room for Improvement: Though their numbers have improved tremendously, the Mexican grey wolf is still at risk. Breeding wolves in captivity and then bringing them to the wild can only be effective as long as their human neighbors can stop illegally poaching them.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Almost 1,000 of Florida’s manatees have died as of Oct.1 this year, setting a tragic record for the most deaths in a year, with two months left to go. Deaths were largely caused by starvation — the predator-less sea cows typically spend hours a day eating seagrass, but declining […]
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
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