In 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service instituted a “three strikes and you’re out” rule for Mexican wolves, meaning wolves that were known or suspected to have killed livestock on three separate occasions during a one-year span would be killed, regardless of their genetic value to the species or the dire straits of the population. In 2008, Defenders filed suit challenging this policy and in November 2009 the Service agreed to end this practice.
For two weeks in September 2011, Defenders ran a “Where’s El Lobo?” scavenger hunt in Tucson, Arizona, working with artist Lauren Strohacker, who created her (No)where Now(here) project to raise awareness of the lobo’s plight. Fifty beautiful art silhouettes, representing the last 50 Mexican wolves in the wild, were placed in various locations around the city and more than 120 people participated in searching for the artwork. Many sponsors and partners contributed prizes for the contest and the grand-prize winner received a 6-day, 5-night Apache Wilderness Journey ecotour that provides an opportunity to see or hear Mexican wolves in the wild.
In 2011 Defenders of Wildlife joined the Mexican Wolf Interdiction Stakeholder Council, a pilot program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aimed at finding innovative ways to lower conflict between livestock producers and efforts to recover the Mexican gray wolf. Defenders is sharing our expertise, gained over many years of working with ranchers in the Northern Rockies and the Southwest, to help design new programs to help ranching and wolf recovery coexist.
In 2011, Defenders of Wildlife was invited to joined the Mexican wolf recovery team, which was formed to update the recovery plan for Mexican wolves. A solid recovery plan, based in the best science, is essential to move the endangered Mexican gray wolf toward full recovery and delisting.