Albuquerque, NM – The struggling Mexican grey wolf population may have to struggle a little harder. Last week the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission voted to pull state support from the wolf reintroduction program. The decision comes at a time when the wolves are also threatened by the smoke and flames of the Wallow wildfire.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says the commission's vote is a step backwards in protecting endangered species. He says the Arizona wildfire demonstrates the vulnerability of the Mexican grey wolf population. "What it emphasizes to us," Robinson says, "is the critical importance of having multiple populations that aren't so tiny, so that when a catastrophe strikes- whether it's wildfire or disease- that we don't have all our eggs in one basket with regards to endangered species conservation."
Robinson says New Mexico's role in the wolf recovery program involved prevention programs that aimed to limit the number of cattle killed by wolves. Meanwhile, many ranchers are touting the commission's vote as a victory.
New Mexico has been a partner in the controversial program since 1999. At last count, there were 50 Mexican grey wolves living in the wild.