Defenders Offers Additional $10,000 Reward for Information(11/11/1998) - Defenders of Wildlife today announced that it has offered to match the $10,000 reward being offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing any of the four Mexican wolves that have been shot in Arizona.
The fourth Mexican gray wolf -- a yearling male -- was found dead on Saturday, November 7, near the Arizona/New Mexico border. The wolf, number 532, was apparently the victim of a shooting. This makes four out of the eleven recently reintroduced Mexican wolves that have fallen victim to gunfire.
"This loss strikes home even more than the earlier ones," said Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. "Number 532 was the wolf I had the privilege of carrying into the pen at the release site in Arizona last January. I'm very upset that yet another of these critically endangered animals, almost extinct in the wild, has been shot and killed."
The killing of a Mexican wolf is a violation of both federal and state laws, and can carry a penalty of up to $100,000 and one year in prison, in addition to state criminal penalties.
Defenders and FWS are also offering reward money for information about the deaths of wolf number 174, found dead on August 7, and wolf number 493, found dead on October 18. FWS also is seeking information on two wolves currently listed as `missing' but presumed dead: the pup born this year to wolf number 174, not seen since August 22, and the adult female, wolf number 127 from the Hawk's Nest pack, which hasn't been seen since September 19.
"It's a real shame that some people are so selfish that they are unwilling to coexist with nature instead of destroying it," Schlickeisen says. "Defenders will do everything we can to help bring those who are committing these crimes to justice. These killings will not go unpunished."
The Mexican wolf, a subspecies of gray wolf commonly known as El Lobo, was considered extinct in the wild by 1970. Thanks to a captive-breeding program that began two decades ago with the capture of the last five known wild wolves in Mexico, 175 Mexican gray wolves are alive today in zoos and breeding facilities around the country. The release last spring of 11 Mexican wolves in Arizona marked the beginning of a reintroduction effort that will strive to establish a population of 100 of the wolves by 2006.
Those with information on these Mexican wolf killings should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 505-248-6911 or the nearest state game and fish office.
Contact(s):Ken Goldman, 202-682-9400 x221 (Media)
Craig Miller, 520-578-9334 (SW)