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Federal Agencies Refuse to Show Public Records Concerning Captured Mexican Wolf

Date
October 24, 2012
Contact
Wendy Keefover (505) 988-9162 x1162
In This Release
Wildlife

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Federal Agencies Refuse to Show Public Records Concerning Captured Mexican Wolf

Hundreds of Pages of Information Redacted
Contact: Wendy Keefover (505) 988-9162 x1162

Santa Fe, NM – WildEarth Guardians objects toWildlife Services, a federal wildlife-killing agency, for refusing to showpublic records supporting the capture of a Mexican wolf for allegedly killinglivestock. The agency provided the conservation organization hundreds of pagesof documents in response to a records request, but completely blacked out 80percent of the pages, or 682 of 870 pages received.

“What are thefeds hiding?” asked Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection Programfor WildEarth Guardians. “This is public information and the federal governmentmust account for the capture and incarceration of the Fox Mountain Loba.”

WildlifeServices, which delayed its response for weeks, redacted the information basedon an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act. But the exemption mayhave been misapplied, and the records should have included more informationsupporting the capture of the Mexican wolf. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still has notresponded to a similar records request, in violation of the 20-day responsedeadline.

“If thesedocuments are all there is supporting the Loba’s capture, we say: ‘Let hergo!’” emphasized Keefover.

The few pagesthat do document supposed Mexican wolf livestock kills by the Fox MountainMexican wolf pack are sketchy, even inconclusive. In one instance, rains hadobliterated tracks and in another a rancher claimed to see a “large canine” ina meadow. In two other incidents attributed to the Fox Mountain pack, the cowcarcasses were found either in a completely dried out state or in “advanceddecomposition.”

Complaints aboutlivestock losses to wolves far outnumber actual wolf-associated mortality. Forexample, in Idaho in livestock growers complained that they lost 2,561 cattleto wolves in 2011, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could verify only 75cattle lost to wolves, a 3,415 percent difference.

“When livestockgrowers in New Mexico claimed that the Fox Mountain pack killed four cattle, wegrew suspicious,” said Keefover, “that’s because wolves prefer to prey uponnative wildlife in far, far greater numbers than on domestic livestock. That’show they’ve evolved.”

Carter Niemeyer,author of Wolfer and former WildlifeServices’ agent said: “as a member of the concerned public, I would beskeptical of many of the conclusions presented. A clear, photographic recordwould sure clear up many concerns that I would have. I don’t think it isunreasonable to provide irrefutable evidence in a form that the public canvisualize and understand, since these kinds of investigations will always bechallenged now and in the future.”

WildEarthGuardians will appeal Wildlife Services’ redacted response and is calling for aCongressional investigation into the agency’s behavior—in regard to the currentrecords response and its other wildlife killing activities in the West.

“Putting aMexican wolf in jail is no better than killing her,” said Keefover. “Thegovernment cannot take such action without first thoroughly documenting theirdecision. Based on the records, we haven’t got any evidence that they’ve doneso.”

# # #

Watch Video of theRecords Request

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-APNrmt1iiU

See Necropsy Records

https://pdf.wildearthguardians.org/site/DocServer/Depredation_Report_Form_June_2011.pdf

Background

On August 8,2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a kill order for the alphafemale of the Fox Mountain Mexican wolf pack for allegedly killing livestock.She had five pups, including four young of the year, one yearling pup, and herlifelong mate, who is also her first cousin.

Immediatelyfollowing announcement of the Service’s decision to kill Loba, hundreds, if notthousands of people called the Service, the White House, and the New MexicoCongressional delegation. As a result of the public outcry, the Servicerescinded the kill order two days later,but then ordered that Loba be captured live.

She eludedfederal trappers for two months but was caught on October 10, 2012, by WildlifeServices. She was being held by federal agents to monitor her health. She willbe or has been moved to the Southwest Wolf Conservation Center, whichvolunteered to house her.

Documentsreceived from Wildlife Services indicate that the Fox Mountain pack wasinvolved in killing six cattle, although the details linking the livestockdeaths to wolf predation are sketchy.

  1. Heavy rains had obliterated out tracksand only tracks found were from coyotes. But bite marks found were “consistentwith Mexican grey wolf” and radio telemetry indicated that AF1188 was “in thearea.” Dead for 24 to 36 hours. (08/01/12; p. 50)
  2. Rancher saw large canine in meadow. Notelemetry at the site but flight on Monday show Fox Mountain [pack/wolf?] inarea. 47 hours dead. (06/16/11; p. 52)
  3. Wolf track located in the area. Carcassskinned and found “canine marks with corresponding hemorrhage on the throat andneck areas and also on the left and right hind legs. The canine marks weremeasured and found consistent with Mexican Gray Wolf predation and the incidentwas confirmed.” Telemetry of Fox Mountain pack in the area the previous day. 24hours dead. (4/26/12; p. 59)
  4. Carcass of 5-year-old cow found at theedge of a dirt (water) tank. Wildlife Services found “multiple wolf tracks inthe area and suggest that the cow was pursued into the water and was killedthere. . . hemorrhage was locatedaround the soft tissue areas in the back end of the how; however no caninemarks could be paired up in this area due to consumption of the tissue. Severalcanine marks were located on the hind legs . . . measuring 36.6mm other caninemarks were located on the back of the carcass measuring 44.9mm and 36.9mm allwith corresponding hemorrhage. 12 hours dead. (3/127/12; p. 62)
  5. Dead calf found in a creek. It was in an“advanced state of decomposition” and Wildlife Services moved the body to ahilltop to use the wind to blow away the stench. “Bite marks were located onthe left hock with corresponding hemorrhage measuring 40.1mm . . . ” Three daysdead. (07/05/11; p. 65)
  6. Wildlife Services’ agent found “coyotetracks and nothing more” near the carcass. The remains were “dried out” butWildlife Services found a hemorrhage on a portion of the hide and took the partand soaked it for 48 hours to “confirm that the staining was indeed hemorrhageand not lividity.” Four weeks dead. (05/01/12; p. 56)

Other Contact
“What are the feds hiding?” asked Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection Program for WildEarth Guardians. “This is public information and the federal government must account for the capture and incarceration of the Fox Mountain Loba.”
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