About The Process

The 2001 and 2005 program reviews identified a number of issues that are limiting the success of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction, both in terms of the wolf population and in adequately addressing concerns of residents and visitors to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.

Reintroduction Issues

  • Wolves moving beyond the boundary area are trapped and re-released, interfering with their ability to form packs. This also takes biologists’ time away from other important wolf-monitoring activities.
  • Initial wolf releases occur only in the primary recovery zone within the recovery area. There are fewer release sites available to add wolves to the population, and it’s challenging to maintain genetic diversity.
  • There are misconceptions that the secondary zone is only for “problem” wolves. In reality, wolves are re-released into the secondary zone for other reasons, including those that have left the recovery area or wolves captured for veterinary care. Also, some wolves travel to the secondary zone on their own.
  • There are some provisions for “harassment” of wolves, but options are limited. Input is needed about possible alternatives.
  • Wolves in the process of attacking livestock can be shot on private land, but domestic pet owners do not have the same ability.
  • The review process identified the need to clarify several definitions, including “breeding pair,” “depredation incident” and “thresholds for permanent removal.” Biologists and residents have different understandings of the terminology used.
  • Finally, the White Sands Missile Recovery Area in New Mexico was initially listed as a recovery area for Mexican wolves. However, it is not large enough and does not contain enough prey.