Mexican gray wolf killed while lurking near New Mexico ranch
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Federal wildlife officials killed a female wolf Wednesday night after she hung around a ranch house in western New Mexico, even spending time on the front porch.
Members of the Interagency Field Team tried to dart the wolf, tranquilize her and move her to another area, said Tom Buckley, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman. But those efforts failed and officials shot the wolf, which had mated with a dog and had pups earlier this year.
The killing is just the latest blow to the 13-year-old program to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves in Eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Last year, a Fish and Wildlife Service report said the project was “at risk of failure.”
The events leading to the latest shooting began Tuesday afternoon, when Crystal Diamond and her two young daughters, ages 2 and 3, returned home to the Beaverhead Ranch. In a written statement, Diamond said she was unloading her pickup truck after several days away with her kids, and the dogs were playing in the yard.
Then a neighbor came speeding up the driveway, shouting out the window, she wrote.
“He yelled for me to take the girls inside while pointing to the dogs who were roughhousing with a collared wolf no farther than 35 feet from my 2-year-old daughter. I grabbed my girls and ran inside, slamming the door behind us.”
The neighbor fired a rifle to scare the wolf away, and Diamond locked her dogs and children inside, she wrote. But after the sun set, the wolf came back to the house.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity attributed the wolf’s death to officials’ failure to increase the wolf population in the reintroduction area. He said the same wolf mated with a dog from elsewhere earlier this year, and gave birth to five hybrid pups, four of which were captured and killed.
I think the only way reintroduction of wolves to this area is going to work is if they can get enough of them to have not only the required genetic diversity, but also enough to allow hunting, so they learn to stay away from ranches and ranch dogs. Not all kinds of diversity are desired in this program. This is not the first time they’ve killed litters of hybrid pups.