03 February 2012 BREAKING: Mexican Gray Wolves Gained Ground in 2011 Posted by: James Navarro | Leave a comment | Share: Mexican gray wolf numbers were up in 2011. TUCSON, Ariz.—The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves surviving in the southwestern United States increased in 2011 to 58 wolves and six breeding pairs up from 50 wolves and two breeding pairs the year before, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. But Defenders of Wildlife is urging Arizona state and federal wildlife officials to release new wolves into the wild to strengthen the population — cautioning that despite the increase, the small population is still at risk and needs a deeper gene pool. “While the increase comes as good news for these highly endangered animals, the small population of 58 lobos is still extremely vulnerable,” said Eva Sargent, Defenders’ Southwest program director. “Wolves are smart, adaptable animals, but they can’t make it alone. New releases of wolves in Arizona and New Mexico are urgently needed to ensure a healthy population.” Wolves are smart, adaptable animals, but they can’t make it alone. — Eva Sargent, Southwest program director The boost signals, however, that a new emphasis on partnerships between the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and ranchers is helping livestock and lobos better coexist. Techniques such as portable fencing, watchdogs, funding for cowboys and compensation for livestock lost to wolves are working to keep more wolves on the ground. A federal wildlife agent demonstrates how to set up fladry. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must build on this momentum, moving forward with several releases that were planned for 2011, but never happened,” Sargent added. “There are wolves eligible for release in Arizona and New Mexico right now, and they are desperately needed. Some of these wolves have been specially conditioned to avoid preying on cattle and deserve a chance at life in the wild.” Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Turning up the Heat Against Idaho’s Predator Derby; Red Wolf Recovery Program Reviewed; Wolf Champion in Congress Takes On New Leadership Role Chasing eyeshine Every fall on the prairie, black-footed ferret chasers take to the field to study these nocturnal creatures. Small Refuge, Big Impact: Wildlife Conservation on the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge Thanks to continued efforts to restore bison in the American West, a herd of bison can call the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge home.