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Mexican wolves released into San Luis Mountains

America on alert if animals cross international border

November 2011: Five Mexican wolves have been released in the San Luis Mountains, in Sonora, Mexico. Mexico’s desire to release wolves in Sonora as part of its recovery effort has been known for the past two years, although the exact timetable for release was unknown.

Larry Voyles, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said ‘The vast majority of historic habitat for the Mexican wolf is actually in Mexico , and long-term full recovery of the sub-species is incumbent on successful recovery there, as well as our recovery efforts in the US,’ The release site is about 80 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.

About 50 Mexican wolves live in the area

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been actively involved in the multi-agency effort to reintroduce Mexican wolves to portions of their historic range in the east-central portion of Arizona (and adjacent New Mexico ) for many years. In 1998, 11 captive-reared Mexican wolves were released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA) in eastern Arizona.

The current population in Arizona-New Mexico was assessed to be approximately 50 animals during 2011 monitoring. The Mexican wolf is considered endangered in the United States and Mexico. Game and Fish continues to express concern over the lack of progress in aspects of wolf conservation.

Recovery plan in need of update

‘The US Fish and Wildlife Service initiated efforts earlier this year to update the 1982 recovery plan for the Mexican wolf throughout its historic range in the American Southwest and Mexico,’ said Voyles.

‘It also recently released a draft management plan for wolves that might travel to Arizona or New Mexico as a result of the recent release in Sonora or future releases in Mexico.’

Voyles added that wolf management was an emotional issue with potential effects on the human environment, as well as the natural environment. Everyone engaged in wolf management has a responsibility towards open and transparent coordination and information sharing with Arizona stakeholders, as mandated under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).