Ranchers in Southwest struggle with high cost of Mexican gray wolves

MEXICAN GRAY WOLF LIVESTOCK KILLS ARE RISING RAPIDLY IN ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO

Kenneth Artz

Heartland Institute July 8, 2019

Endangered Mexican gray wolves, reintroduced by the federal government to parts of the Southwestern United States, have killed nearly as many cows and calves in the first four months of 2019 as they did all of last year.

Endangered Mexican gray wolves, reintroduced by the federal government to parts of the Southwestern United States, have killed nearly as many cows and calves in the first four months of 2019 as they did all of last year, causing an increase in tensions among U.S. wildlife managers, environmentalists, and rural residents.

The federal government reports the wolves killed 88 domestic animals in Arizona and New Mexico from January through April of this year.

If this pace of livestock killings continues, the wolves will far surpass the nearly 100 livestock kills confirmed in 2018. They have already eclipsed the livestock deaths record attributed to wolves over the same four-month period in any year since they were reintroduced in the region in 1998. 

History Repeating Itself

Ranchers in New Mexico and Arizona are experiencing what ranchers and farmers elsewhere have suffered as the federal government has reintroduced gray wolves, says Brian Seasholes, an independent scholar whose research focuses on endangered species.

“While rural people bear the very real costs of living with a destructive predator, they have been relatively powerless against distant urban masses who lobbied vociferously against state control of wolf populations,” Seasholes said. “For decades, farmers in the upper Great Lakes region, especially northern Minnesota, have suffered from federally protected wolves eating their livestock, hunting dogs, and pets.

“Now, unfortunately, this same pattern is being repeated in Arizona and New Mexico,” said Seasholes. “If environmental lobbyists sincerely cared about wolf conservation, they would use their deep pockets to establish a meaningful compensation fund for ranchers and others who have had animals killed by wolves.”

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