Interact on Facebook Follow on Twitter Donate to NWC Shop the NWC Store Subscribe to the Newsletter
Interact       Follow       Donate        Shop       Forward   Subscribe


Thank you so much for your participation in our mission. We hope this update from the Southwest continues to inspire your interest and support. 
National Wolfwatcher Coalition
In This Issue
Southwest Update
Are you a Wolfwatcher, too?
About Us
Special News Update from Daniel Sayre,
Southwest Regional Director
Photo: Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center



"There is much work to be done on behalf of wolves across the nation..."

~Daniel Sayre  




It is with some trepidation that I again provide you with the current status of Mexican gray wolf recovery. Not wholly because there isn't good news, but as the difficult events of recent weeks have reminded us, there is much work to be done on behalf of wolves across the breadth of the nation. While wolf advocacy is perhaps the most difficult work I have done, I steel myself with the knowledge that there are so many individuals ready and willing to work in support of apex predators such as wolves.


Understanding that Mexican gray wolves are most unique in the spectrum of North American canids, one would most assuredly and rightly expect that a maximum level of protection under the Endangered Species Act "ESA" would be provided to safeguard the long term genetic viability of the species.

With this expectation, and the knowledge that recent petitions by Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and The Rewilding Institute were submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife "USFWS" with the goal of obtaining a listing under the ESA as an endangered subspecies, separate from other gray wolf populations, one could surmise with a bit of common sense that the petitions would be accepted and approved.  

Photo: Don Burkett 
Unfortunately, this is not the case. On Friday, Oct. 4, 2012, the USFWS denied the petition, submitted in 2009, to list Mexican gray wolves as a separate subspecies under the ESA, effectively keeping Mexican gray wolves consolidated with other more numerous gray wolf species. This decision was wholly unexpected and disheartening considering the difficulties associated with the recovery program which effectively began in 1976 with the initial "endangered" listing. While the species is currently protected, a subspecies listing may have provided substantial additional benefits to the recovery effort.


As of the day of the writing of this article, 1421 days have elapsed since US Fish and Wildlife has released a new Mexican gray wolf into the wild. For a bit of perspective, by the time the presidential election ends this year, it will have been close to four years since the last release, when the last presidential election was held.

Meanwhile, the program's goal of 100 wild wolves has not been achieved. Additionally, prior to earlier this year the Arizona Game and Fish Commission policy was to oppose any new releases of captive Mexican gray wolves into the mountains of Arizona. In January, the Commission voted to amend the policy, but only to consider new releases on a case by case basis, and only to compensate for a loss in the wild population. Unfortunately, this type of obstructionism by the Commission has indeed hampered the process of recovery. We expect the Commission to address the subject of Mexican gray wolves at an upcoming meeting and we will have additional updates and provide you with opportunities to become more involved.


                  Photo taken at the Wolf Conservation Center 


Knowing the recent weeks have been quite difficult with regard to the news about wolves, there are some positive items to consider. Perhaps most important, and long awaited, is the coming revised Mexican gray recovery plan by USFWS.  First drafted in 1982, the recovery plan is outdated and apparently ineffective. Recovery plan revision efforts have amounted to little until 2011 when a new team took up the important work of revising the plan. We are cautiously optimistic that a draft recovery plan will be released next year, and that it will address and correct the failings of the old plan.

As many of you may know, the Fox Mountain alpha female eluded capture by USFWS for depredation on cattle until Wed. October 10th, when she was captured. Initially, a lethal removal order was issued which was later rescinded when supporters of lobos became involved and the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center offered to give her a permanent home. Ultimately a removal, lethal or otherwise, is not ideal and we thank you for your past support on this issue. We hope you consider supporting the Center as it now cares for this critically endangered wolf while it remains in captivity for the remainder of its life.  


One final note...
The Paseo del Lobo events wrap up in the coming weeks. This weekend is your last chance to participate in the hikes! I will be attending the final hiking section on Saturday October 13th which ends at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. For more information please visit the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project

Additionally, I will be attending the California Wolf Center's Wolf Awareness Week festivities on October 20th near Julian, California. As Mexican gray wolf species survival plan participants, centers such as these play an important part in education and species breeding programs. Please visit the California Wolf Center for more information.
In the spirit of this update, 
 we ask that you take the following actions in support of our lobos:


1) Contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service to:  

  • Thank the agency for continuing the work on the revised recovery plan.   
  • Call or email the agency to encourage it to work to prevent depredation which leads to removal of wolves.
  • Call and email the agency to let them know you support additional releases. Please urge them to consider releases as soon as possible to bolster the existing population.

2) Join us in supporting our colleagues at Mexican gray in their action that asks us to send a quick email to policy makers to let them know that it is important to afford all available protections to lobos. 


3) Visit the website of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, consider a visit to the facility, or simply send them a note of thanks for taking in the Fox Mountain alpha female and providing her with a home and care for the rest of her life. 

Are You A "Wolfwatcher," too?
Courtesy of Marie Bentivegna

We always ask supporters to send us their thoughts about why wolves and their conservation are so important... 

From Marie Bentivegna of NY:

"I have been a wolfwatcher ever since wolves were reintroduced to the wild in Yellowstone National Park. I never saw a wild wolf myself, but I love to learn about them, especially how they work together for the benefit of their pack and how their role in nature completes the web of life. We, humans, can learn a lesson or two from wolves."



Many thanks to Marie and so many others who shared their thoughts we us!  We hope to hear from more wolfwatchers, too!  Why do you want to "understand, love and protect" wild wolves?   Send Wolfwatcher your one or two sentence response along with a recent photo and you may be featured in our next e-newsletter! We look forward to hearing from you! 


We appreciate your support!


National Wolfwatcher Coalition is a 501(c)(3)  

nonprofit, all volunteer organization  

on behalf of  

wolf education, conservation and advocacy.  


We seek to preserve the legacy of the wolf by educating the public, advocating for science-based decision making at every level of government and participating in activities that promote the wolf conservation.  All donations, no matter the amount, will help us to educate, advocate and participate via:

  • educational programs, materials and events
  • participation in conferences, seminars, and consultation with other professionals in the field of wolf biology, research, conservation and environmental law.
  • Wolfwatcher Legal Fund to address costs related to our potential engagement in litigation that challenges local, state and/or federal policies that affect wolf conservation.

To donate online, please click on the Donate button at the top. To donate by check or money order,  please send your donation to: National Wolfwatcher Coalition, PO Box 84, East Greenwich, RI 02818 


When you join our pack by shopping at our  Wolfwatcher Store you are actually helping us further our mission by raising awareness about wolves and our work on behalf of wolf conservation.  We hope you will check it out.  


"Educate, Advocate, Participate...Preserve Their Legacy."