Wildlife

Endangered Mexican gray wolves could be introduced to Utah

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M. Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah, where ranchers and elected officials are fiercely resisting any attempt to import the predators. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)
A Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, NM.
Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican
gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah.
(Associated Press)

The Federal government proposed to release a subspecies of wolf in southern Utah and Colorado. This has raised concerns among local ranchers and the Utah Farm Bureau.

Conversely, wildlife advocates are fighting to introduce the Mexican gray wolf into Utah. The Mexican wolf is a threatened species found in the Southwest region of the United States. There are only 110 species left in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has surveyed the region along southern Utah and believes the habitat is suitable for the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves.

Kirk Robinson, executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, expressed his concerns about the Mexican wolf not being discussed during the legislative season.

"Nobody is talking about reintroducing the Mexican wolf," Robinson said. "Our government officials are really upset about this. They don't want Mexican wolves or any other wolves for that matter. That is why there is such a big conflict."

Robinson shed some light as to why southern Utah needs a wolf population.

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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update - Dec 2015

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly UpdateDecember 1-31, 2015 - The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), and New Mexico.  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup.  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

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Game and Fish helps pronghorn cross boundaries

Copter antelopeGPS collars provide data to improve connectivity  

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (Dec. 23, 2015) Like some giant bird of prey, the helicopter appeared from seemingly out of nowhere and swooped down on the unsuspecting herd of pronghorn feeding on the open grassland below.

The chase was on.

In the end, despite being able to reach speeds up to 60 mph, the fastest animal in North America was no match. The net-gunner’s aim was true, the handler or “mugger” placed a GPS collar around the pronghorn’s neck, and within moments the animal was safely removed from the net and turned loose to rejoin its herd.

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Sage grouse chick production at its highest in 10 years

Sage grouseCHEYENNE – New data on the Wyoming sage grouse population reveals bird numbers should continue to grow in the coming year based on an analysis of sage grouse wings provided by hunters. There were 1.7 chicks per hen in 2015, the same as 2014. This ratio is the highest documented since 2005, and more than double the recent low of 0.8 chicks per hen noted in 2012. The 10-year average, from 2005-2014, was 1.3 chicks per hen. Grouse numbers declined in most of those years.

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Northern Spotted Owl Decline Continues

Northern Spotted OwlContinued Decline of the Northern Spotted Owl Associated with the Invasive Barred Owl, Habitat Loss, and Climate Variation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northern spotted owl populations are declining in all parts of their range in the Pacific Northwest, according to research published in The Condor. Based on data from 11 study areas across Washington, Oregon and northern California, a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year was estimated from 1985 to 2013.

Researchers found evidence that the invasive barred owl is playing a pivotal role in the continued decline of spotted owls, although habitat loss and climate variation were also important in some parts of the species range. Barred owls compete with spotted owls for space, food and habitat.

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