For Immediate Release, December 20, 2007

Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360

Rancher Accused of Baiting Mexican Gray Wolf, Forcing its Killing;
Conservationists Call for Re-release of Wolves Still Alive and
Retrieval From Ranchers of Telemetry Receivers Used in Baiting

SILVER CITY, N.M. High Country News reported today that the Adobe Ranch on the Gila National Forest deliberately branded a cow on the verge of giving birth half a mile from a wolf den in order to entice the wolves with the smell of seared flesh and cause it to kill a calf, so that the wolf could then be removed.

High Country News quoted Mike Miller of the Adobe Ranch as saying, "We would sacrifice a calf to get a third strike." The baiting worked. The Durango Pack killed the baited calf, and the alpha female was shot less than two weeks later by the government.

“If true, this is illegal and unethical, and we’re outraged,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Since that incident on June 23, 2007, the Aspen Pack of wolves has been removed for depredations on the same ranch. “We have to assume at least some of the Aspen Pack were baited as well,” said Robinson.

The Center demands that the captured Aspen Pack animals be released to the wild. “These wolves deserve their freedom back,” said Robinson.

The Fish and Wildlife Service routinely distributes radio telemetry receivers to ranchers to protect their stock; a receiver was used to place the pregnant cow as close to the Durango Pack den as possible. The Center urges that all telemetry receivers be immediately retrieved.

“Why is the government giving the tools to allow this kind of baiting to those violating the law?” asks Robinson. “Given the high rate of poaching and wolf disappearances including near to the Adobe Ranch, giving the sworn enemies of the wolves the tools to precisely locate them is unconscionable.”

Lastly, the Center is requesting an inspector general investigation into the killing and removal of baited wolves and abuse of government telemetry devices by ranchers.

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