Nine Mexican gray wolves died in fourth quarter of 2023
Wildlife officials say nine Mexican gray wolves are known to have died in the final quarter of last year.
According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department it brings total deaths of the endangered species to 30 in 2023—13 in Arizona and 17 in New Mexico.
The agency has confirmed that about a third of those resulted from illegal killings, something that’s hampered the Mexican wolf recovery program for years.
Meanwhile, officials say they expect to see continued growth in the animal’s population during their annual count in the coming weeks.
Last year, they confirmed at least 242 wild wolves. November marked the 25th anniversary of Mexican wolf reintroduction in the Southwest.
The species has since struggled to gain a foothold, mainly due to illegal killings and a lack of genetic diversity.