On June 25, 2013, a New Mexico rancher notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) that a female Mexican wolf, F1108, had been shot and killed while in the act of attacking cattle on private land. The Service received notification within 24 hours of when the shooting occurred.
The 1998 Rule that established the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico (Rule) provides that, on private land anywhere within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area, livestock owners or their agents may take (including kill or injure) any wolf actually ‘‘engaged in the act of killing, wounding, or biting livestock.’’ The Rule does require that evidence of livestock freshly wounded or killed by wolves is present, and that the take is reported to the Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator or a designated representative of the Service within 24 hours.
F1108 was translocated with her mate as a pregnant pair into a temporary mesh pen at McKenna Park in the Gila Wilderness on April 27, 2013. The pair self-released from the temporary pen on or about May 4, 2013. Shortly after release, her mate left the area and was recaptured on May 11, 2013 and returned to the Service’s Sevilleta Mexican Wolf Management Facility.
F1108 localized in the vicinity of the pen. The necropsy performed as part of the investigation after F1108 was shot confirmed the she had a litter of pups. Wolf biologists believe that pups were born soon after her self-release. The Service’s Mexican Wolf Program provided supplementary feeding to F1108 to assist her in raising pups. She remained localized for several weeks, and may have been denning, although there were no observations of any pups.
F1108 dispersed from the area on June 10, 2013, and did not return. If F1108 had pups it appears most likely that the pups died prior to her dispersal. It is also highly doubtful that any pups could have survived for more than several days after her departure.
Approximately two weeks later, F1108 was killed by gunshot on private land outside of the Gila Wilderness.
The shooting of F1108 was investigated by the Service, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services. The investigation found evidence of wolf bite marks on a cow, and that the attack on the cow occurred on private lands. After a comprehensive and thorough investigation was completed, the Service's Office of Law Enforcement concluded that the take of Mexican Wolf F1108 on private land was legal under the provisions of the Experimental Population Rule, and therefore not a violation of the Endangered Species Act.
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