Wolf program showing progress

Editor:

I have carefully read the Aug. 6 article by Pete Aleshire (“Wolf population grows — along with conflicts with ranchers”) and appreciate his effort to keep the public informed of the recovery progress for the Mexican wolf. While the information is for the most part accurately reported, I do have a couple of concerns where clarification for the readers would be informative.

In the third paragraph, the author correctly states that the population increased by 12 percent between 2017 and 2018; however, he further states that mortalities in the first six months of this year wiped out many of these gains. This might confuse the reader because there are other factors, such as new pups being born, that can affect the year-end population survey. As an example, the minimum estimated Mexican wolf population went from 114 in 2017 to 131 in 2018, even with mortalities that occurred during the year.

Later, the author states that the population has fluctuated but hasn’t grown much in the past five years. This doesn’t convey the larger picture of population growth. Data from the annual census shows that in 2013 the minimum population estimate was 87, and in 2018 it had grown to 131. If you go a few years further back, the increase is even more dramatic.

The Mexican wolf population is growing and on the way to recovery, a process that is never easy or fast for any endangered species.

Jim deVos, assistant director, Wildlife Management Division, Arizona Game and Fish Department

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