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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 Minka Kelly, Actress and IFAW Global Ambassador As a Global Ambassador for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), I’ve known for years that there are more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than remain free in the wild today. Hearing this stunning fact never fails to shock me. I’ve had the opportunity to […]
A coalition of environmental groups is urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to set an 11.5 mph limit on shipping speeds in an 11,500 square mile stretch of water off the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama.
Why This Matters: Whales, despite operating at the top of their food chains, face mass casualties and mortal threats from human activity.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The UK government is formally recognizing animals as sentient beings for the first time — a major win for animal welfare activists. This announcement comes along with a series of bills that ensure the health and safety of Britain’s animals, including microchipping cats, stopping the ownership of primate as […]
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