Utah officials have placed a trap-and-destroy order on an endangered Mexican gray wolf believed to have killed livestock in the state. Conservation groups are calling on state wildlife officials to humanely capture the rare predator, and release it into the wild.
Mexican gray wolves were brought back from near-extinction by the Endangered Species Act, signed in 1973. A calf was found dead around June 1 on a ranch in northeast Utah – a region where Mexican gray wolves are not on the endangered list. Biologist Michael Robinson with the Center For Biological Diversity said the animal should still be protected by federal law.
“Biologically, under the standards of the Endangered Species Act, these are still endangered animals,” said Robinson. “And it’s intuitively obvious, because there’s only one of them that’s on the run; it doesn’t even have a family in that area. So, they’re very much in peril, very much qualify under the Endangered Species Act.”
Leann Hunting with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said, as of Tuesday, the wolf had not been seen or captured, and state officers were no longer actively searching for it. However, the wolf could still be trapped or killed by private citizens, since it is designated as a nuisance.