Wolf, © Michael S. Quinton, National Geographic Stock

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Fish and Wildlife Service Holds Public Meetings to Determine Fate of Mexican Gray Wolves: Today, there are fewer than 90 Mexican gray wolves living in the wild – they are America’s most endangered wolf and one of the world’s most endangered animals. Sixteen years ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began a reintroduction program for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwestern U.S. Now, the Service is proposing to change the rules about how Mexican gray wolves are managed. Although the proposed rule will provide a little help to the current struggling population, in the long run it will assure that wolves can never fully recover, because it bars wolves from the habitats that scientists say are essential for recovery. The proposal would also make it easier for people to kill these endangered animals. But, we have a chance to tell the Service to pull the proposal before it is finalized. For those of you in Arizona and New Mexico, we hope you will consider attending one or both of the Service’s public hearings on this topic later in August. We need to let the Service know that the public wants full recovery of Mexican wolves! Click here for additional details/ registration information about the public hearings.

Mexican gray wolf, © Jim Clark/USFWS

Six Mexican Gray Wolves Released in New Mexico: In some good news for lobos, this week the Service released six Mexican gray wolves into the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. These six new wolves will bring some needed genetic diversity to the small wild population in the Southwest. Defenders continues to advocate that in order for endangered Mexican gray wolves to recover, the Service must continue to release more wolves from captivity, establish additional populations of wolves and develop and implement a recovery plan for the species. We’re glad to see the Service take a step to help save these wolves even as the agency considers a policy that would impede the wolves’ recovery.

How Do People Form Their Opinions About Wolves? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin set out to find the answer. The researchers surveyed over 700 Wisconsin residents to understand how residents develop tolerance for wolves, and learn more about the role hunting plays in forming those attitudes. The researchers thought that if wolves were listed as a game species, this might increase tolerance for wolves by giving residents a degree of control over wolves in state. Surprisingly, this study finds the exact opposite is true. Instead of building social tolerance for wolves, hunting increases intolerance among Wisconsin residents for wolves. When wolves are listed as a game species like elk and deer, Wisconsin residents become less interested in coexisting with wolves across the state. This survey suggests that wildlife managers should carefully consider all implications before legalizing wolf hunting in any state, as listing wolves as a game species could dramatically undermine public support for wolf conservation.

Melanie Gade

, Communications Specialist

Melanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.