UPDATED 8/12/12. 3:15 pm
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded its lethal removal order for AF1188. The agency has agreed to allow the Arizona-based Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center to provide permanent sanctuary to the female wolf.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Albuquerque ordered the killing of a Mexican Gray Wolf whose pack is responsible for the killing of four head of cattle within the past year.
The alpha female belongs to the Fox Mountain Pack in the Gila National Forest. She is a wild-born wolf, as is her mate. The pack also includes at least five young wolves.
Under the rules of the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, wolves that prey on cattle four times within a year must be removed from the wild. Since 1998, FWS has been working to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to New Mexico and Arizona. There are currently about 60 wolves in the region.
According to the FWS “lethal removal order,” the Fox Mountain Pack may also be responsible for three other cattle killings last summer. In the order, FWS also describes the female, AF1188, as having “low genetic value.”
But conservationists disagree, and say the wolf is a successful mother who plays a necessary role in wolf recovery in the southwest. They are asking the agency to reconsider its decision.
Meanwhile, the cattle owners will be reimbursed by the federal government for the loss of their animals.
The lethal removal order is online at: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/