ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An endangered Mexican gray wolf has been killed by federal employees after a Native American tribe requested the animal be removed from the wild in the wake of a string of cattle deaths near the Arizona-New Mexico border.
The death of the female wolf marks the first time in a decade that efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to curb livestock attacks by wolves has had lethal consequences for one of the predators.
The decision to remove the member of the Diamond Pack was first made in June after three calves were killed over several days, sparking concern among wildlife managers about what they described as an unacceptable pattern of predation.
An investigation determined the female wolf was likely the culprit based on GPS and radio telemetry tracking, according to documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Another calf was killed in July, prompting the White Mountain Apache Tribe to call for the removal. That was followed by one confirmed kill and another probable kill by members of the pack on national forest land adjacent to the reservation.
Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle issued another order in August calling for the wolf’s removal by the most expeditious means possible.
“I am concerned with the numerous depredations in this area over the past year and the toll these depredations have caused the area’s livestock producers,” Tuggle wrote.
Environmentalists decried the move, saying they are concerned about the possibility of managers reverting to a rigid three-strikes rule that called for wolves to be removed from the wild or killed if they preyed on livestock. Following years of legal wrangling, federal officials revised that policy in 2015 to allow for more options…