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A Little Too Close for Comfort-Wolves Hanging Out in Alpine

posted Sep 4, 2017, 8:04 PM by chloe owens

6/16/17, by Trudy Balcom, The Independent

A little too close for comfort – wolves hanging out in Alpine

A pair of young Mexican gray wolves living in the Alpine area were seen on the edge of town last week, prompting a response from the Mexican Gray Wolf Interagency Field Team. The wolves, a collared female and a collared male, joined up earlier this spring and have been dubbed the Prime Canyon Pack. The pair has not yet produced any pups, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials…Sherry Barrett, Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for USFWS, said the wolves are in the area because elk are also hanging out near the town of Alpine…The pair of wolves has not attacked pets or livestock, or shown any aggressive behavior, Barrett said. Wolf managers want to condition the wolves to have a fear of humans and to keep their distance — it’s called avoidance behavior. The Interagency Field Team located and hazed the male wolf. Using rubber pellets as ammunition, the wolf was shot; the pellets do not cause the wolf serious injury. They also used loud “cracker shells” to frighten the animal. The goal of these actions is to teach the animal avoidance behavior. In the case of this particular wolf, the hazing appears to have worked. A member of the Interagency Field Team attempted to get another shot at the male wolf for the next three days, but couldn’t get close enough. Barrett said the female in the Prime Canyon Pack was hazed earlier and appears to have learned her lesson as well. “She’s been hanging back in the woods,” Barrett said.