ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service reported earlier today that the Mexican gray wolf population had increased from 114 individuals in 2018 to 131 individuals in 2019.
Kim Crumbo, Senior Carnivore Advocate for Wildlands Network, released the following statement:
“While we are encouraged by the reported increase in the Mexican wolf population, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is that we see a stronger commitment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the best science in recovery of this imperiled species. The wolf’s long-term survival is encumbered by a recovery plan that does not incorporate recommendations from many wolf experts and the latest science.”
Mexican gray wolves once roamed across the Southwest and northern Mexico, but were persecuted and driven to extinction in the wild in the U.S. In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a recovery program for the Mexican gray wolf, but there have many challenges for recovery.
Notably, the most recent recovery plan was criticized by wolf scientists and conservationists, based on credible science, as inadequate regarding the size and location of recovery zones, and number of wolves necessary for full recovery. Resolution regarding litigation of the plan is pending. The approximate increase of Mexican gray wolves from 2018 to 2019 may have been 12%, though there were a record number of wolf deaths in 2018, with 21 wolves killed.