End of Year Count Reveals Dismal Progress for MX Gray Wolf Recovery

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With only a marginal increase in numbers, odds are still against lobo survival

TUCSON (January 31, 2014) – Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service released the official annual count of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. This year’s count tallied 83 wolves, an increase of only eight individuals from the 2012 year-end population of 75 wolves.

The following is a statement from Eva Sargent, Director of Southwest Programs, Defenders of Wildlife:

“While these numbers are disappointing, I cannot say they are unexpected. The Service has done next to nothing to complete or implement a recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves, and because of that these imperiled wolves are currently geographically and genetically stranded.

“The Service’s Mexican gray wolf recovery team has not met in over two years, and during that time the wolf population has stagnated. The animals are struggling to survive and cannot recover without the Service stepping up in terms of both scientific planning, and real action to save this population.

“In order to see a significant increase in yearly population numbers, breeding pairs and overall genetic health, Mexican gray wolves need three things: a science-based recovery plan must be implemented immediately; more breeding pairs must be released; and at least two additional core populations must be established in suitable habitat.

“Above all, these numbers tell us one thing – Mexican gray wolves cannot recover without help. The Service must recommit to getting the job done.” 

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Contact: Courtney Sexton, csexton@defenders.org, 202.772.0253

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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