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Study Suggests Officials Underestimate Wolf Poaching

posted Jun 7, 2017, 6:53 PM by chloe owens

5/27/17, by Rebecca Moss, The New Mexican

Study suggests officials underestimate wolf poaching

In February, an adult male from the Dark Canyon Pack, a Mexican gray wolf troop that roams through the west-central countryside of the Gila National Forest, was found dead…A new study published earlier this month suggests the untimely death of endangered wolves throughout America may more frequently be the result of illegal poaching than federal agencies and wildlife biologists realize or are reporting — and might be contributing to stalled recovery efforts for the species. The Journal of Mammalogy published the peer-reviewed study, a joint effort by authors at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Earth2Ocean Research Group, the University of Victoria in Canada and Albuquerque-based Project Coyote. The study found that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials who manage the Mexican wolf recovery program in New Mexico are underestimating the rate of poaching by up to 21 percent. “It means that the government has been underestimating an illegal activity,” said Adrian Treves, a professor and researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author on the study. Without accurate information about poaching, he said, “you don’t target your policy intervention or your management intervention accurately — the things you do to protect endangered species.” Between 1998 and 2015, there were 155 deaths and disappearances in New Mexico and Arizona of radio-collared Mexican wolves. Of these wolves, 53 had “unknown fates…Research found “that poaching is the major cause of death for all the endangered U.S. wolf populations we studied,” he said.