Deal Gives Wandering Wolves From Mexico Protection Status

August 27, 2013

Federal officials have agreed not to try to capture and relocate wolves that enter Arizona, from Mexico. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has been involved in a reintroduction program for the wolves for nearly two decades, but the announcement that Mexico was launching its own reintroduction program, just south of the border, caused complications. Fish and Wildlife decided unilaterally to capture any wolves wandering up from the border, an act Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says is prohibited by the Endangered Species Act. 

“The problem with this is that these wolves, under the law, are fully protected, and you can't simply sacrifice them under the law for special interests, in this case, the livestock industry,” Robinson said.

On Monday, a deal was signed giving any wandering wolves from Mexico protected status without fear of relocation. Robinson says it's unknown how many wolves from Mexico are in Arizona and New Mexico, but he believes their presence could help U.S. reintroduction plans, where the small population of just 75 wolves is being victimized by inbreeding, resulting in small litters.