Reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf The Mexican Gray Wolf once flourished and roamed the lands from M©xico to Canada, but in the 20th there populations were severely dwindled and they now find themselves on the endangered list. The United States government approved a systematical eradication of the Mexican Gray wolf from the lower 48 states (Mexican 1999). During the 1800’s, westward expansion was rapidly moving across the US leading to the elimination of the larger mammals the wolves preyed upon.
After some time, the depletion of the wolves hunting stocks forced the wolves to hunt livestock. Due to the wolves turning to livestock, they were hunted, poisoned, trapped, and shot down by bounty hunters. By the 1970’s, the Mexican Gray Wolf was placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Sadly, by the time the Mexican Gray Wolf was placed under this Act, there were only a few hundred remaining in Minnesota (Gray Wolf 2007). Ever since the Endangered Species Act, efforts have been made to reintroduce the Mexican Gray Wolf back into its natural habitat (Mexican Gray Wolf 1999).
In 1982, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with Mexico to establish measures and preserve the wild populations of he Mexican Gray Wolf in Mexico and areas of southwestern United States (Shoenecker 1997) The Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction program has its pros and con’s, but is a serious debate that needs a final decision made immediately. Reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf into the Northern American area can significantly help the environment in several ways.
The hope is that the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf will return the mixture of animals that live in that certain area back to its natural state (Robbins, pg 77-78). The few wolves that have been reintroduced have had an astonishing impact on the area they were released in. Researchers have come up with the wolf-effect theory that implies the wolves keep the elk populations down, which prevents the elk from grazing and destroying all the aspen in the area.
It has been discovered that since the wolves have been reintroduced, they have retained their basic hunting skills after being in captivity for so long (Parsons 1998). The wolf-effect theory can be expanded farther as researcher’s claim it affects more than the elk and aspen populations. Once the elk stop grazing on the aspen in so many areas, lush vegetation begins to grow which brings back the beaver, the beavers then build dams that create ponds, and these onds welcome more vegetation.
The lower elk populations due to the Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction are bringing back more cottonwood, willow, and fir groves to recover (Mexican 1998). In addition to this, the Mexican Gray Wolf brings out a broader variety of animals after a hunt. Once the wolves are done consume their kill and leave behind the dead carcass, bald eagles, golden eagles, coyotes, raves, and magpies come out. The few Mexican Gray Wolves that have been reintroduced have become “alpha dogs” over coyotes; in return the coyotes have become smaller and weaker.
The coyotes’ prey has then flourished which helps the red fox population row (Robbins, pg 80-81). The reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf would be environment. However, there are several people who feel that the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf would do more harm than help. The negative side of this highly controversial topic is causing chaos amongst ranchers and residents. These ranchers and residents feel that the reintroduction program is not in the best interest of the local residents, ranching families, general public, or the wolves themselves.
Since the reintroduction program, wolves have been hunted, trapped, starved, and relocated (Mexican 1998). To many, the Mexican Gray Wolf is seen as a vicious predator, thanks to the many myths surrounding “wolves. ” Ranchers believe that if the wolves are relocated into certain areas where ranching is extensive, they will go after the livestock and possibly humans (Restoration 2008). In an interview with Arizona Rancher Sam Udall, it was made clear that the public is pessimistic about the reintroduction program.
According to Sam Udall, the Mexican Gray Wolf will never be self sustaining or endeared to the public because they are such an untamed animal. Udall pointed out that many believe the success of the program ill measured in the amount of money spent and animals released, the success of the program involves the location and the true wildness of the wolves and their ability to adapt ( The Debate 1999). Many wolves are being shot at by these ranchers because of the threat they pose to the rancher’s livestock, which severely conflicts with the Endangered Species Act (Robinson 2006).
Reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf could prove to be ineffective if ranchers and residents continue to loath the wolves and do everything in their will power to once again remove the Mexican Gray Wolf from the lands. The Mexican gray Wolf reintroduction program has had both triumphs and failures in its 12 years of operation. The program has remarkably helped the environment through the wolf-effect theory. Thanks to the wolves that have been released back into the wild, elk populations have been lowered, vegetation has grown back, and more animals are being spotted.