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Feds kill Pipestem wolf pups

Feds kill Pipestem wolf pups

By Tom Jackson King, Managing Editor

With a secrecy befitting the CIA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
killed six wolf pups of the Pipestem Pack who happened to have the wrong
genetic makeup — their dad wasn’t pure-blood Mexican gray wolf.

Elizabeth Slown, spokes-person for USFWS, said Monday that all six
Pipestem pups born to the alpha female in May were recently euthanized
because they were “hybrids.”

“The genetic analysis revealed that (1) Female 628 is the mother of the
pups, (2) Male 190 is not the father, and (3) the pups are not Mexican
wolves. The genetic analysis could not determine for certain what the
father is. However, the results indicate that the father is most likely a
domestic or feral dog, or wolf-dog hybrid,” Slown said.

“The whole Pipestem group . . . were all held in captivity at Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge where the adults remain. In keeping with the
Service’s Final Rule for managing the Mexican wolf reintroduction and
recovery program, these offspring have been humanely euthanized,” she

The Sept. 16 killing of the seven pups received harsh criticism from wolf
supporter Rae Evening Earth Ott of Spring, Texas, who earlier thought she
had a deal with USFWS Regional Director H. Dale Hall for her to adopt the
pups for raising at her North American Wolf Association refuge in Texas.

“Why not spay and neuter them?” she said recently. “They (the pups) can’t
possibly contaminate the wolf gene pool if they’re spayed.”

A principal rationale for euthanizing hybrid wolf pups as presented by
Slown and by Wolf Program Director Brian Kelly was that they feared the
pups would interbreed with released Mexican gray wolves.

Ott had harsh words for Kelly.

“This guy belongs in the Third Reich. He can be remembered as the
biologist who was the puppy killer,” she said.

Ott said when she pleaded with Kelly to not kill the pups, he became upset
with her. “He said no, if he allowed that to happen he would be telling
the world hybrids are good for something. My source says if they are not
pure, they will kill them all. They’re going to cave in under political
pressure. This is about politics, not about those pups.”

In a formal statement, Ott said the agency had reneged on its promises.

“USFWS chose not to honor promises made to the North American Wolf
Association (NAWA) to give us an opportunity to fairly present a
reasonable alternative to the needless killing of the Pipestem puppies. We
are dismayed by this lack of integrity by government officials who are
sworn to respect the rights and the voice of all Americans. The
circumstances surrounding the death of the Pipestem puppies has created a
serious situation that NAWA intends to pursue to its fullest,” she said.

Kelly could not be reached for comment on Monday. However, in an interview
quoted in the July 24 issue of the Eastern Arizona Courier, Kelly had said
the pups might be kept alive to study known hybrids.

That option is now foreclosed.