She doesn’t exactly have a name, but Fox Mountain F1188, a Mexican Gray Wolf that was recently captured in New Mexico, has finally arrived at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) in Scottsdale. Last August, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service issued an order for the lethal removal of F1188 for the depredation of cattle. SWCC offered to pay for her live capture and give her sanctuary at the center. Though she lost her freedom in the wild, F1188 is safe and sound… SWCC is reporting that she’s in good health, eating well and settling into her new environment. Eventually, she’ll be introduced to another Mexican wolf, so she’ll have a companion.
Below, a spokesperson for SWCC talked to us about F1188′s new life and why conservation is so important:
Why was her arrival at the conservation center important?
Her arrival at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center was important in several ways. It was due to the compassion we have for these wild creatures that we offered to trade her execution for a life in captivity at SWCC. Because, there are so few Mexican wolves in existence, we feel each is a valuable contribution to the gene pool, and the species as a whole. We also hope that her story will inspire people to become aware of the problems, as well as the successes, of the reintroduction program, and to become more involved to ensure a future for these wolves.
What will happen to her over the next few days/weeks?
Over the next few weeks, F1188 will settle down in her new home and become acquainted with her new routine and wolf neighbors. SWCC currently houses 16 Mexican wolves, and we’re an important partner in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan — although we do not receive any federal or state support for their care. Eventually, F1188 will be placed with another wolf as her companion.
Why is conservation important?
The conservation of the Mexican wolf is important as the species was a key predator that was missing from the landscape for a century. Returning the Gray wolf to the northwestern U.S., especially in the Yellowstone area, has benefited the environment as a whole, and brought it closer to a balanced system. However, restoring wolves in the southwest is a very controversial program with political implications mainly stemming from livestock operations. True recovery of the Mexican wolf will entail compromise among several groups, but the wild lands will be healthier for it. And the wolves will be back where they belong.
What does F1188 look like?
F1188 is a magnificent animal with the features of a classical Mexican wolf. Looking at her photo, you can see the typical coloration of this species. She is on the small side, weighing approximately 50 pounds, but the Mexican wolves have always been the smallest of the gray wolves. She is active and alert, and seems to be adjusting well to her new life. Although we are sad that she was removed from her family and life in the wild, we’re glad we were given the opportunity to offer her sanctuary for the rest of her life.
SWCC tours are guided tours and by appointment only. For more information call 480-471-3621 or visit http://www.southwestwildlife.org.