The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Four
Wolves In Nature

translocation of mexican wolf m1049 to the wild in january 2011 u.s. fish and wildlife service 65Translocation of Mexican wolf M1049 to the wild in Catron County, New Mexico. (Photograph was provided courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011.)

Local folks may reasonably wonder why would you purposely place predatory wild animals in an area inhabited by human beings.

Views on this issue differ based on philosophy. Those philosophies have been enshrined in laws and regulations. As years have gone by, those standards have changed.

There was a time where local folks – with the support and active participation by governmental authorities – hunted Mexican wolves with the intent to eliminate that species from the landscape. In large measure, that was achieved in Grant County and nearby jurisdictions in both New Mexico and Arizona. The goal to remove the Mexican wolves from the region was rooted in the view that the frontier was to be made hospitable to humans and our ways of life.

In the early days of settlers from outside the region coming into what is now Grant County, those new folks wanted to create an environment that they considered safe for themselves. The rights of those who were here before – whether they be fellow humans like the Apache or wild animals like the Mexican wolves – were immaterial to large portions of the new population.

The Apache fought against the new settlers. For years. The Apache lost. The Apache were either killed or removed from the area. Many were "relocated" – governmental-speak for forcibly taken by the military – to prisons and eventually to reservations outside of Grant County.

Wolves were treated in similar manners, but the goal was not removal. It was extermination. As predator animals, wolves kill other animals. The new settlers utilized a variety of animals in their everyday lives. Horses for travel as well as for work. Livestock to produce food and income for the families. Wolves were a direct threat to the ways of life being put in place by these new residents.

As such, local folks – with eventual support of governmental entities far beyond New Mexico – killed as many wolves as possible. Governmental rules and laws were designed based on eliminating the Mexican wolves as a matter of policy.

"By the mid-1900s, Mexican wolves had been effectively eliminated from the United States, and populations in Mexico were severely reduced," according to the U S Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the latter part of the 20th century, people with different views of life advocated and succeeded in changing many of those regulations and laws. That process – the give and take among people with different views on wildlife and its relationship to humans – is still underway.

The Endangered Species Act was passed by the U S Congress in 1973. Three years later, in 1976, the U S Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Mexican wolf as an endangered species. Governmental policies had thus changed from one in the early days of the 20th century where total removal of the Mexican wolves was considered critical to one where recovery efforts were implemented to save the species from extinction.

To a large extent, the concept of co-existence is now the goal of Federal officials as well as a number of others in environmental organizations.

With those changes in policies have come conflicts among those who believe the idea of placing predatory wild animals in places like New Mexico is the height of foolishness to those who believe humans have no right to remove a species because it does what that species does naturally. In fact, those individuals believe that humans have a responsibility to help restore and enhance the lives of wildlife that they previously tried to exterminate.

"Reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf was initiated by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service in March 1998," according to a statement from that Federal agency. "Mexican wolves living in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) are designated as a nonessential experimental population which allows for greater management flexibility to address wolf conflict situations such as livestock depredations and nuisance behavior. The MWEPA is a defined geographic area that encompasses Arizona and New Mexico from Interstate 40 south to the international border with Mexico."

Grant County is in the MWEPA.

"Reintroduction of a top predator such as the Mexican wolf is highly complex and often controversial," the statement from the U S Fish and Wildlife Service continued. "It is important to understand the role Mexican wolves are playing on the landscape, including all of the potential biological, social and economic impacts – be they good, bad, or indifferent. In order to continually evaluate this role, an Interagency Field Team (IFT) has been formed and has the primary responsibilities of collecting data, monitoring, and managing the free-ranging Mexican wolf population. Equally important is the IFT's close interaction and involvement with local communities directly affected by wolf recovery."

We'll be looking at some of those aspects in coming editions of The Chronicles Of Grant County.

Do you have questions about communities in Grant County?

A street name? A building?

Your questions may be used in a future news column.

Contact Richard McDonough at chroniclesofgrantcounty@mail.com.

If your email does not go through, please contact editor@grantcountybeat.com.

© 2021 Richard McDonough

Click to search the Beat Click to search the Beat

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

Please Note in Classifieds a dog looking for a home. And now a well-loved cat is looking for a home.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

  • The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option at the top of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Go to Top