WCC1006: Management of the Mexican Wolf
Statement of Issues and JustificationThe need, as indicated by the stakeholders: The management of the translocated Mexican wolf in Arizona and New Mexico is the responsibility of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, state, and tribal wildlife departments. Many of the decisions made regarding wolf management and research are guided by, and often hampered, by politics. There is a need for an independent body to be able to study Mexican wolves so that better and unbiased data can be collected to enhance the data being collected by state and federal biologists. The cooperation of an independent group of scientists working with wolves would greatly assist with the management and recovery of this endangered wolf.
The importance of the work, and what the consequences are if it is not done: Considerable data (e.g., prey base, life history characteristics, human dimensions) needs to be collected about the Mexican wolf so informed decisions can be made and the translocation can be evaluated (Breck and Meier, 2004; Mech, 1995). Additional data will greatly enhance the knowledge available to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and if delays occur in obtaining base line information, it will take significantly longer to understand how the wolf is interacting with the biological community (including humans), to evaluate the translocation, and could take significantly longer to reach recovery. The latter point is important as the Mexican wolf recovery program is one of the most expensive recovery programs in the United States. Millions of dollars will be able to be allocated elsewhere once successful recovery occurs.
The technical feasibility of the research: With the advancing evolution of radiotelemetry (i.e., satellite/ GPS collars) biologists can collect more data in 2 months than could be collected in a year with VHF telemetry (Cain et al., 2005). DNA analysis has also advanced this field so genetic techniques have become common in solving wildlife problems. There are literally numerous questions that can be addressed relatively easily with contemporary field methods.
The advantages of doing the work as a multistate effort: The wolf recovery area is in Arizona and New Mexico and could expand to other Southwestern states and Mexico. Contributions from scientists familiar with their region will enhance the study. There are also additional talents available by incorporating a wide range of scientists--especially in work with a species that incorporates numerous sciences (e.g., biology, taxonomy, sociology, genetics, predation, range management).
What the likely impacts will be from successfully completing the work: A broader base of knowledge about the Mexican wolf than can be obtained with a limited number of biologists and technicians working on the project. We anticipate that all aspects of wolf recovery can be addressed better with an unbiased research team. More importantly, we would be able to collect needed information that could likely be hindered by the political process without an independent group of scientists.
Back to Top