Endangered Wolf Shot by Camper
ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
Apr. 30, 1998
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ A camper shot and killed an endangered Mexican gray wolf released only weeks ago in far eastern Arizona as part of a federal recovery project, officials said Wednesday.
It was the first death among 11 lobos reintroduced to an area where their species had been hunted, trapped and poisoned into extinction in the wild by the 1970s.
The wolf that was shot Tuesday morning had been attacking a dog, said Frosty Taylor, an Arizona Game and Fish Department spokeswoman.
Tom Bauer, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the 4-year-old male wolf was shot near the Apache National Forest site where it and a female partner were released March 29.
He said officials are investigating and had not charged the shooter, an Arizona man camping with his family.
David Parsons, Fish and Wildlife's leader on the Mexican wolf recovery project called the death a setback.
``We had high hopes for this pair. But in the overall scheme of things we still have two viable packs,'' he said.
The wolf was among 11 set loose in an area encompassing 7,000 square miles in the Apache and Gila national forests of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. They were released in three family groups. All are wearing radio collars.
Environmentalists called the release a major step toward restoring a damaged ecosystem. Ranching groups said wolves infringe on their livelihood by threatening livestock.
The Mexican gray wolf, also known as the lobo, was placed on the Endangered Species List in 1976. Through a captive breeding program, officials hope to build a population of 100 wolves in the wild.