Mexican Wolf Depredation Investigations…Again

Mexican wolf. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Hey folks, I’m back to reviewing Mexican wolf depredation investigation reports and sifting through another few hundred pages of blood, guts, bones, and grammatical errors, and today I found these two from Apache County, Arizona in May 2020: AC 5-27-20 3, AC 5-27-20 4.

Both of the reports are about really young dead calves, estimated to have been killed 6 – 12 days prior, in close (~20 yards) proximity to each other. There were no wolf tracks near either scene, but “It was reported that a wolf was seen in the area the previous day.” Notwithstanding the fact that the kill occurred well before the wolf was reportedly seen, or that only coyote tracks and scat were found at the scene, these two calves were confirmed as having been killed by Mexican wolves.

And I won’t post the pics here but if you are so inclined to check them out at the docs linked above, do those photos look like bite marks or hemorrhaging to you, or might it just be some blood pooling up in the limbs after sitting for 6-12 days? And what’s with the scraped-off fur being measured in the second photo of the second file? Maybe the caliper points looked more damning in person? Dunno. I’m no expert, but it seems a little less than conclusive.

And here’s the thing: we don’t know whose ranch this is or which wolves were blamed for these May 27, 2020 calf kills near Vernon, Arizona. But this removal order for M1441 cites two 5/27/20 calf kills on non-federal land (the two deps linked here are identified as having occurred on state land), so it would seem to fit. And since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service killed M1441 for his alleged crimes against cattle, I hope damn sure that the other incidents listed in that removal order have better evidence than these two.

To be continued…

Greta Anderson is a plant nerd, a desert rat, and a fan of wildness. She is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project.