by Russ McSpadden
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has ordered the killing of an alpha female Mexican gray wolf for crimes against the cattle industry. She is accused of being the ringleader of a six member pack that has killed four cows in southwestern New Mexico over the last several months.
Extirpated from the wild by the 1950s, reintroduced through captive breeding programs in 1998, Mexican gray wolves are far from recovered. The outlaw matriarch of the Fox Mountain Pack—last seen roaming the mountainous woodlands of the northwest portion of the Gila National Forest—is one of only 58 of her kind left in the U.S. Southwest. And though Mexican gray wolves are endangered and federally protected she is now on the federal government’s hit list. There’s no telling how long she and her pups can hold out under the cover of pinion and ponderosa pine or the conifers of the colder peaks of the range with a warrant out for her life.
The ranchers who suffered the loss of cattle have already been reimbursed.
In 2007, the Fish and Wildlife service ordered the shooting of an alpha female of the Durango Pack in the Gila, also for cattle depredation. In a tragic twist of timing, then-governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson recalled the state’s order but his message arrived too late. She was killed in June of that year. Her lover and their pups disappeared and have not been spotted since. They are presumed dead.
Will the Fox Mountain Matriarch outwit the cattle lobbyists and government assassins long enough for an injunction?
(505) 248-6920 Fish and Wildlife Services’ Division of Endangered Species and Habitat Conservation in Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 842-3292 United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Southwest Region (this is the organization that will probably carry out the order to kill the wolf)