KUNM

Advocates Call For More Endangered Wolf Releases

Jul 12, 2018

There are only 114 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in the U.S. and conservationists say inbreeeding is stifling their survival. Activist groups want the federal government to release more captive adult wolves into the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brings in wolf pups from out of state with the idea that in state packs will take them in. The Center for Biological Diversity is one of the groups that has signed on to a letter sent to feds saying cross-fostering isn't working.

The center's Michael Robinson said he wants captive wolves released with their offspring. 

"The preliminary results from the first 2 years of cross fostering from captivity to the wild," he said, "show a much lower survival rate than the Fish and Wildlife Service had predicted."

Ten cross fostered pups were released from 2016 to 2017. Only 2 survived. Robinson said, pups with their adult parents are more likely to live and they bring genetic diversity.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they're also concerned about the diversity of wolves, but it's too late to release more this year. They'll be looking at how many wolves to release next year.