Federal law enforcement officers recovered the carcass of the wolf from the Saffel Canyon Road (RTE 76) in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on February 19, 2021.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and partners are offering a combined reward of up to $37,000 for information leading to a conviction in connection with the suspicious death of an endangered Mexican gray wolf near Eagar, Arizona.
Federal law enforcement officers recovered the carcass of the wolf from the Saffel Canyon Road (RTE 76) in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on February 19, 2021. The Service is seeking information about a vehicle that was stopped or driving slowly near the Saffel Canyon Trailhead on the evening of February 18, 2021. The public is encouraged to report information regarding this case by calling 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the wolf’s death. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged additional funding for a total reward amount of up to $37,000, depending on the information provided.
Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of state law and the federal Endangered Species Act and can result in federal criminal penalties of up to $50,000, up to a year in jail, or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
“Each endangered wolf deserves a chance to survive in the wild,” said Amy Lueders, Regional Director for the Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Our law enforcement officers are actively working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this suspicious death. These investigations are extensive, and wolf poachers have faced, and will continue to face, serious criminal consequences.”
“We at the Forest Service on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest are grateful to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of their active investigation,” said Anthony Madrid, Forest Supervisor. “We greatly understand the importance and connection our communities and so many people have with these magnificent animals and are encouraged by the work that our partners are doing. We strongly encourage members of our community to work with us and contact the proper authorities if they have any information,” added Madrid.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to the protection and sustainability of the Mexican wolf,” said Phillip Land, Special Agent in Charge of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, Southwestern United States. “With the assistance of our partners and the public, we will find the person responsible for the death of this endangered animal.”
The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project is a cooperative effort administered by seven co-lead agencies: Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, White Mountain Apache Tribe, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA Wildlife Services, USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
These agencies function as an adaptive management oversight committee. This management approach provides opportunities for participation by local governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals from all segments of the public.
More information regarding the Service’s Mexican wolf recovery effort is available here: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/.
More information about how to report wildlife crime can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/lawEnforcement/report-wildlife-crimes.php.